Excruciating

They love me.

They love me not.

That's what trying to get this summer course together has been like. In theory, tonight is to be the first night of my grad course. The problem is enrollment. Unfortunately summer courses here cost a boatload (maybe ironic since I get paid less to teach one here than I did as a grad student - $2,500 before taxes here). We have to have a minimum number of students enrolled for the course to make, and my number has been bouncing around from one week to the next. For about a week, it's been high enough for the course to be offered. Today, though, one of the students ran into a roadblock and may not be able to take the course. But they're not sure. So no one's quite sure whether the course will happen or not.

[Rant added for your reading pleasure - 4:11 pm, same day:

It is also frustrating that I had to argue with a colleague about why I won't pressure students to take the course that they'd pay too much for while I was being paid too little to teach it. Cost per credit hour goes up in the summer for students while contact hours go slightly down. And yet what I get paid for one course is paltry.

And I'm sitting here agonizing over it because, sadly, $2,500 (before taxes) will make a world of difference to me since I'm paid below average for someone with my level of experience at this type of university in this field. On one hand, I'm tempted to just call the course's time of death and get on with my own life for the summer; on the other hand, $2,500 would let me actually pay off something for the first time in three years.]

We're also working on a conference here. The person who is supposed to be taking the lead on this was to be in today dealing with all sorts of details, only they never appeared, and I wound up having to juggle lots of those things as well. I'm getting ready to say I have to stop helping with it, as I've no interest in being the hitched to the plow for a project I'm getting very little say in. I do wonder how it'll go over.

But for now, I should go prepare my discussion for tonight (assuming "tonight" happens).

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4 Responses to “Excruciating”
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Dr. Crazy said...

So, did it go? I'm not sure whether I'm crossing my fingers for it to have gone or not... they really are paying you *ridiculously* for the summer teaching. It is *totally ridiculous* for a t-t or tenured person to make that little for a course in the summer. But I get the needing money thing, so if it went, I'm glad for you.

And yes, you should start being less available for this conference thingie. They're totally taking advantage of you with that as well, and since there's absolutely no money involved with it, my advice is to just say no. (Or to be very clear about exactly what it is you will do, and do exactly that and no more and nothing else, which is probably the better course in terms of looking like a "team player.")

May 19, 2008 at 9:59 PM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

We called a time-out, essentially, to try and allow the third student a chance to navigate through the bureaucratic tangles. But to make life more thrilling, no rooms were unlocked and the registrar's site showed the course as four weeks instead of six, which is causing conflicts for another student (which made me think about the digital natives discussion).

In any case, if I can make the course go, I will. Not just because I want/need the money, but because it will be about the closest course to what I do that I'll get to teach here. And it's a chance to work with graduate students, which I'd like if only because it (theoretically) means I'll be having good discussions about things I'm interested in.

We'll see.

May 20, 2008 at 1:20 PM
Sisyphus said...

That sucks. Like Crazy says, I don't know whether to root for it or against it. Guess I'll just go drink a beer in your honor instead.

And everywhere I've been, it's been _way_ more expensive for me to take grad classes in the summer than during the year, and no chance for paying it with a TAship. So, yeah, I'm feelin' it for the grads, too.

May 20, 2008 at 8:40 PM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

We had a pretty good deal in grad school for summer courses - though there were almost never useful grad courses offered in the summer sessions. If you had an assistantship in the quarter before and after summer, then summer your waiver typically applied. One more reason to be thankful the grad students had a union.

May 20, 2008 at 8:55 PM