Seeing how I’ve only had the one job as an adjunct instructor, for which I am paid for less than 20 hours of work per week, I have been a substitute whore this term.  I actually got a certificate recognizing this fact at the recent All-Staff Meeting: the Most Flexible Award, and whores are supposed to be flexible, right?

So far, I have subbed for classes in English, Psychology, Business, Criminal Justice, and Accounting, along with one class each of another instructor’s Strategies and Computer Applications.  I’ve taught full 4-hour classes, covered for an hour or two, and proctored exams.  I want the money, but I also want to show my strong work ethic to my boss in the hopes of ingratiating myself into a full-time teaching position.

I have covered classes for five different instructors so far, but one of them takes the cake.  I have covered a total of 9 of her classes this term.  She was teaching a morning Strategies class and two Psychology classes back-to-back on Fridays.  The first week I was asked to sub for her, she was in Hawaii on vacation with her boyfriend for a week.  Well, she was a new hire like me, so I figured she had planned the trip months in advance.  I covered both of her psych classes that week, and actually got called in at the last minute one morning to cover her Strategies class when her scheduled sub called in sick.  No biggie.  I was showing movies in both classes, so it wasn’t difficult work.

Then I got called to cover those same two psychology classes the following week.  But this time it really wasn’t her fault — she apparently fell and hit her head that morning before class, and was in the emergency room.  So I administered one of her midterm exams, and showed more movies in her other class.

Then the third week rolled around, and she still didn’t have permission from her doctor to go back to work.  So I covered yet again, but this time I gave 4-hour lectures on developmental psychology in each class, which I spent several hours prepping for so that I wouldn’t just be reading the PowerPoint slides she had provided.  It was interesting material, and I enjoyed it.  The students told me they enjoyed it too, which made it even better.

Then things went back to normal for a while.  I had Fridays off, and life was good, even if my paycheck was a little smaller.

A few weeks ago, I got a last-minute email to cover a few hours of her Friday evening class.  She sent me an email less than 12 hours before I had to be there?  She couldn’t even give me a call?  She was going to a 48-hour film fest, and needed to leave early.  This seemed like something that she could have given me more than 24 hours notice about, but I agreed.  The she moved up the time I was to arrive, so that she would have more time to get dressed for the event.  At this point, I was feeling a little used, but work is work, right?  All I had to do for her class was proctor an exam, and even though it was the most harrowing exam I have ever proctored and the students were furious by the end of it, from my end it was fine.

Then last night, while I was giving my own Strategies final exam, I got a text from her asking me to sub for her today.  A text.  This is starting to feel like the sub version of a bootie call.  Again, less than 12 hours before I needed to show, she asks if I can cover the last few hours of her class.  I knew this was her last class, and asked if I would be covering the time before or after they took their final exams.  She said they would be giving their final presentations during the first half, and I would be covering their written exam.  Relaxed at the thought of just needing to proctor another exam, I texted back sure, no problem.

So I get to school to cover her class, and my boss tell me she is already gone.  I was afraid that I had gotten my times wrong, but no, she just decided she needed more time to get ready again, so she left them without an instructor, I have no idea for how long.  I then find out that most groups’ presentations weren’t complete by the beginning of class, so they have already taken their final.  And I will be grading their final presentations.  I will be doing what??!?  Yup, I am to assign their grades on a final presentation, in a class I haven’t taught, on a subject I am not qualified to teach, which is worth 65 points (!).  And I am told to grade it based on “professionalism, engagement with the class, speaking, etc.”  Yeah, one of my grading criteria is “etc.”  You know what?  Every student there got 65 points.

I already decided weeks ago that this chick is not serious about teaching.  It hasn’t helped my opinion of her that her students across the board complained that they learned more from their one week of my lecture than they had in the rest of the class to that point.  But then the kicker came when I got home.

I got another text asking how the class went.  I told her everything went fine, and where I had put the exams and grades, so that she could get her final grades in by tomorrow.  She started thanking me profusely for “never letting [her] down.”  I wasn’t going to ask, but I couldn’t resist any longer — I wanted to know why she had dumped the grading of a huge, subjective portion of her students’ final grades on me.  The answer?  “I do acting so I had to go to a film shoot.  The students knew all about it. :-)”

All I can say is:

And I can’t wait until sometime next term when she calls  — or emails, or texts — and asks me to cover for her class.  And I will say no. Because I have better things to do than cover for her irresponsibility.

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