This post will focus on effective prep because the more effective (and fast) your prep, the more you’re proportionately paid when you post final grades. Even for experienced instructors, the idea of planning a new course or revamping a familiar course is so daunting it’s something we resolve to do during the summer–that magical time when we hope to recover from countless hours grading endless papers–because we know it takes hours and weeks of planning. Geez, sometimes it takes hours of researching for materials before we even begin planning an weekly calendar. And, sadly, adjuncts are expected to do the same thing but with little notice and laughably low pay.
And when I say little notice, I mean 3 days; and when I say little pay, I mean $10-12.5 an hour instead of $18-20–depending on how much time you spending prepping and grading. Read more about that here.
Most instructors plan materials for a new course 1 of 2 ways:
- Get a calendar in place and prep as you go.
- Get a calendar in place and prep the week(s) leading up to the semester.
Either way, it adds up to hundreds of hours planning, researching, and building lesson materials outside of the class time you’re actually paid for. It wasn’t until I was a full-timer and felt the difference that I realized (gulp, prepare yourself) every minute of prep diluted my actual bottom-line profit at the end of the semester. If you really really want to know the sad reality of just how little adjuncts makes once all their planning, prepping, teaching and grading is over, click here, but you’ve been warned.