Thursday, August 30, 2007


The job postings, they're a-trickling in. One that just showed up in my inbox is advertising for a 3/3/3. That's right folks: thanks to the wonders of the quarter system, we're lucky enough to have the opportunity to scrabble over the chance to teach NINE FUCKING COURSES A YEAR.

HFS. I said I wasn't going to drink tonight. Clearly that's not going to happen now.


Anonymous said...

For what it's worth a 3/3/3 course load in the quarter system is not as bad as--say--a 4/4 course load in the semester system. Comparing raw numbers across semester and quarter systems can be misleading.

Here's some evidence: CSU-LA's department has a 3/3/3 course load, and yet they have a number of people who publish regularly, and have a Leiter-ranked MA program with good placement. These acheivements would probably be out of reach for a 4/4 semester program.


P.G.O.A.T. said...

ML -- Thanks for the response. It's a counterintuitive point. Any thoughts about why it works out that way in some cases?

Clayton said...

I think I'll second what ML is saying. I think 4/4 would be worse because of the amount of grading you have to do within a particular semester.

I've taught 4/4 for a few years now (not including independent studies) and found that when I teach over the summer, say, two courses each over the period of one month, it's a hell of a lot easier than, say, stacking up those courses at the same time. It might be that over a two month period, I'll grade the same papers as I would during the regular school year, but having to lecture less during that time and having those papers spread out over two month chunks rather than all at once makes a big difference.

ML said...

Yes, Clayton's right. I'd also add that a quarter-length class just isn't as much work for the students or instructor as a semester-length class. And so-called "condensed" summer and January-term classes are even less work, although I still hate teaching them. You just can't accomplish as much in four or ten weeks as you can in fifteen, no matter how many hours you may spend with your students every week.

I've always wondered what it's like to teach at a one-course-at-time program like Cornell College or Colorado College. It seems like it's gotta leave you a lot more time for your own research. Even if you teach six three-week terms in a year you're still going to have a lot left over, assuming you don't have too many new preps.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying nine courses is any picnic, but I defended last spring and have been working adjunct since then. I had one course in the summer, five this fall, and I'm slated for either five or six in the spring, spread out across two schools. If I could get paid a living wage plus benefits to ONLY teach nine courses a semester, I would do the happy dance.

So I guess it's just a matter of perspective.

Anonymous said...

Correction: Nine courses in twelve months, not per semester, obviously.