So I mentioned before how I’m teaching an extra class I’ve never taught. So that means two classes this semester. I’m used to doing one class with the exception of my second year when I chose to use start-up money for my lab instead of buying out of teaching. But I was prepared for that. And I didn’t have to freaking disinfect my whole area before and after class. I’ve decided that I can’t do homework assignments for two classes so I’m trying an optional option for homework. I’ll post optional homework that I don’t grade, and I post the solutions online. And I’m limiting each class to 2 exams/class and only a handful of quizzes. Luckily, we’ve submitted some bigger manuscripts this past summer and we’re in the early stages of the next slew of papers because I don’t have time to edit manuscripts from my students with this higher course load plus manage and prepare for the next grant cycle. I have a couple big renewals coming up and can’t miss the boat on these. Especially since I’m intentionally not pursuing industry funding for the next year-plus. Luckily, I set up in my office with a small play/sleep space for the little one to at least ease my parenting load. I know this isn’t an uncommon occurrence for many faculty out there, but the last-second nature of the class is what’s tripping me up.
So then, in the midst of my panicking, our dean has announced that he wants to pull the postings for the adjuncts and the lecturers for the next semester and put it on us to teach extra. He is saying that we can’t be interviewing people during this pandemic. I call bullshit. I talked to my department head and said I don’t mind picking up slack this semester and next, but I will pull industry funding to buy out my teaching if I have to. And where will the department be then? When I was hired I was shown that it is very rare for faculty to have to teach more than two classes a year if they’re showing an active research program. I’m afraid that they are using this shortage to test the waters of a leaner faculty headcount. This dean came in from some federal agency and they were praised for their lean operation. The best I can do here is threaten a buy-out. But in the meantime, I’ll suck it up, create new lecture material and be a good little soldier for the school. The students deserve a good education and the public that fund my research deserve a dedicated researcher. We’re all used to balancing things, but if there’s a change to the status quo that we’re used to then the school, flush with funds to hire more teachers, needs to improve things. I’ll take a hit if we’re low on cash or if things change last-second (which they did). But I’m not okay with making this the norm.