The Overflowing Composition Classroom--A Response
I posted the following in response to an InsideHigherEd.com article “The Overflowing Composition Classroom.”
It seems that InsideHigherEd is going through their notes from the last CCCC convention, squeezing out an article a day. That’s ok…it gives us bloggers daily content. :)
While the bulk of the comments to this article lament the sad and sorry state of freshman writing skills (which needs to be said again and again), one aspect of the article goes overlooked. Composition courses, even at the CC level, are taught more and more by adjuncts. Adjuncts must, ever increasingly, work at multiple colleges/universities in order to cobble together a living wage.
So, if an adjunct is overloaded at your college, then they are certainly overloaded at her second or even third college. Some may even teach a course or three online, which adds to the total number of students in a given semester.
If you are an admin, this should scare you. You are legally not supposed to ask if she teaches somewhere else, but consider what you pay and realize that she most probably does.
My personal best (which led to severe burn out) was ten courses taught over the length of a winter semester (two sets of three 6 week online courses; a single 5 week online; and three on-ground 16 week). The average student load ranged from 15 (per 6-week online) to 30 (16-week onground). I don’t even want to think of the total numbers of papers graded.
Would I recommend this? No, but it happens and few will talk about it.
Final note: there is software that aids in increasing the time spent grading, allowing more comments per sitting while decreasing the per-paper face time. My blog has one such URL.