Slate did a short piece on why adjuncts don’t leave. It’s largely accurate, but my blood started to boil when I read this quote from an adjunct:
I was talking to a colleague last week who told me that she saw the most perfect non-academic job for her in Boston the week before, but since we were already 3 weeks into the semester, she couldn't imagine ditching her students mid-semester. There's a real sense of duty that comes with the job.
The piece ends with a further reinforcement that teaching is a kind of “devotion,” like being a nun or a priest. At least nuns and priests get to leave whenever they want, unlike adjuncts apparently.
I took to Twitter for a little bit of a rant.
Moral of the story? Don’t invest your loyalty into a place that will not return it. This is not a vocation or a calling, it’s a professional job that deserves respect and a living wage. If your treatment is being justified because you are “temporary,” then start behaving like it. It is not the students’ fault, but until they feel the impact of contingent contracts, nothing will change.
Apply for that perfect job, no matter when in the semester it comes up. You should not be ashamed or regret taking a job that offers stability, better pay, benefits, more fulfillment, etc. They should be embarrassed and ashamed of putting you in that position to begin with.
They won’t be. But they should.