For the 09-10 academic year, I’ll be teaching my 1/2 load at WSU-Tri Cities. The TC campus is a branch campus that is approximately thisbig, 142 miles away (seriously: here’s the map) from Pullman. That’s right—I’m going to drive 142 miles (it’s 2hr15min door to door if I don’t have to stop…which I always do), teach for 75 minutes, hang around to talk to students, then drive 142 miles back home…twice weekly. In the spring I’ll teach for 150 minutes and hang around and talk to students, but it still seems a little ludicrous.
Except, you see, I asked to do this. My friend Michelle has done her TAship at TC the last two years and for various reasons will not be doing it next year, which is how I had the opportunity to step in. Why “opportunity”? Why so happy that I’ll be putting an extra 500 miles per week on my car? Well, because I will be teaching core literature courses in the major, and in my third year, even. At the main campus, these courses are taught by TT faculty who have TAs to help out/grade (they’re 60-student classes). At TC, I’ll have 15-20 students and complete autonomy.
Yesterday I tested the commute—I drove to TC to sit in on Michelle’s courses and get a feel for the students (and the drive). It took me 45 minutes to go 15 miles because we had six inches of snow, but after that it was smooth sailing. It’s an easy commute—long, but with no other cars on the road and I can get sports talk radio the entire way, which is something. So, 500 extra miles each week to get some great experience in the classroom (not to mention on the CV)? Absolutely.
Plus, the driving will give me experience if I have to adjunct at 27 different places in a few years just to make a living…