Summer Work

leskoBy P.D. Lesko

When I taught, there was always the inevitable end of the year scramble to see who would get summer teaching work. It was brutal. Feelings were always bruised, and the course assignments rarely covered everyone who wanted work. I just received an email from AdjunctNation writer Kat Kiefer-Newman. Kat pens our wonderful “Juggling 101” blog. In her most recent entry, Kat writes about her summer reading plans and signs off until the Fall. I read her entry and was surprised. I wasn’t planning for her to take the summer off writing, but who am I to tell people they have to work when the local swimming hole beckons?

As it turns out, Kat thought I wanted her to take off the summer. It was a classic case of poor communication on my part. For those of you going through withdrawl because you were under the impression you would not be reading Kat’s entries until September, please accept my apologies and look for a new entry from Kat very soon.

Summer work.

I have more summer work than I can handle these days. That’s actually good. The Part-Time Press is shipping out books to colleges and universities all over the United States, and we have a new book out. It’s called Teaching in the Sciences, A Handbook for Part-Time & Adjunct Faculty. The book is aimed at helping adjunct faculty who teach in the sciences sharpen their classroom skills. It was written by Dr. Michael Collins, a retired faculty member with loads of experience in faculty development, mentoring, training and several decades of teaching experience in the sciences under his belt. I’m very proud of our newest book, and expect sales to continue to be brisk.

I am still working on the exciting redesign of the AdjunctNation.com web site.

My kids have the summer off from school naturally, and there are the thousand and one things to do around the house, the yard, and our town.

As always, AdjunctNation.com writers are busy producing great content for you to read. For instance, you should definitely read Bruce Johnson’s great piece about student rewards. How does/should teachers reward students who go above and beyond? After all, these students are very likely to score the highest on the tests, turn in the most complete class projects and write the most compelling students essays. Is assigning the most points or highest grade reward enough?

If you haven’t read Rich Russell’s pieces yet, please do. You’re missing out. Perhaps you’re skipping Rich’s blog because you don’t teach online. Don’t let the title of the blog fool you. Yes, it’s called “Teaching in Pajamas,” but the tips, suggestions, hints and humor that Rich shares with AdjunctNation.com readers are perfect for any classroom be it online or on campus. His most recent pieces, titled, “Connecting to Students: Improving Retention in Online Classes, Parts I & II” are simply some of the best writing I’ve read about the importance of student retention, and how adjunct faculty can keep their students engaged and help them succeed. After all, isn’t that one of the main responsibilities of college faculty?

When I taught, I could never understand the attitude of colleagues who were not disturbed when students got low grades, dropped out, or failed their courses. Of course, faculty can’t take personal responsibility for every student, because there are students who are not prepared to study at the college-level who gain admittance to the college campus one way or another. However, there is always a connection between the quality of the instruction, the dedication of the instructor, and student success.

I also want to draw your attention to Randy Eldridge, who joined AdjunctNation recently to write about working as an Adjunct By Choice. Randy’s writing is open, refreshing and often compelling enough to those who read it that it gets shared via Facebook and Twitter dozens of times. In his latest entry, Randy writes about the use of social media by adjunct faculty, and whether adjuncts should, well, connect with current students via social media sites such as Facebook. Randy offers an interesting perspective on the subject. I’ve been delighted by his entries thus far, and so have the site’s readers. The “Adjunct By Choice” blog has become one of the most popular on the site.

Finally, I want to say how very pleased I am to welcome all of AdjunctNation.com’s new Twitter followers and Facebook friends. Between Twitter and Facebook, AdjunctNation is moving toward our goal of 1,000 followers in six months. If you have a Twitter account, or would like to keep up with the latest from the site via Facebook, you know what to do!

In the meantime, I will wish all who read this a very relaxing summer. Or not. As always, thanks so much for visiting AdjunctNation.com and telling your friends and colleagues who teach part-time about the site, as well.

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