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Student slump?
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kona



Joined: 17 Sep 2011
Posts: 186
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 5:55 pm    Post subject: Student slump? Reply with quote

Not their lack of posture, but their lack of presence. Been applying to a lot of adjunct positions at community colleges in the greater Seattle area, and have not received a single response back. I may just have a resume and cover letter that's not ticking the right boxes; however, I am a little surprised I haven't heard back from anyone except some local language institutes (they said they may have some substitute work later).

The people that I did talk to at the language institutes say that student numbers are down, especially from Saudi Arabia. I remember when I did my Masters at Central Washington University, about two hours outside Seattle, that there were A LOT of Saudi students, so I'm sure more rural universities have been hurt by the low oil prices and the subsequent downturn in scholarships to go overseas, but I thought Seattle would be shielded from those fluctuations because of their heavier exposure to Asia...

I have an MA TESOL, 3-4 years experience (if you count a 6 month stint in Mexico and my practicum), and two of those years were at a university in Korea.

What's been your experience folks? Again, I think it could be something I'm doing wrong, but maybe it's just rough for ESL teachers in the US these days? How're you all fairing, and any advice for the aspiring adjunct?
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11247
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Student slump? Reply with quote

kona wrote:
Been applying to a lot of adjunct positions at community colleges in the greater Seattle area, and have not received a single response back. I may just have a resume and cover letter that's not ticking the right boxes; however, I am a little surprised I haven't heard back from anyone except some local language institutes (they said they may have some substitute work later).

The people that I did talk to at the language institutes say that student numbers are down, especially from Saudi Arabia.

Your job hunting experience mirrors what friends in several other states are going through. Numbers are down; the decrease in Saudi students has impacted enrolment. (Saudis represented the highest number of foreign students to the US.) I suspect universities in major cities saw the biggest drop.

A sign of the times.
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peripatetic_soul



Joined: 20 Oct 2013
Posts: 288

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 7:21 pm    Post subject: Student Slump Reply with quote

Hi,
NS's assessment of the current job situation is accurate. Some of our new adjuncts had lost their positions at other institutions due to precipitous decline of international students. Fortunately, our ESL program has not been as "limpy" as regular academic programs. How long it will remain robust is an unknown. Also, FT faculty/staff received the news that there will be no raise as anticipated. Positions of tenured faculty and full-time admins who have retired will remain vacant.

As NS will agree, networking and making connections is one of the best ways to be considered a top candidate. Most of our new adjuncts have been referred by other colleagues. One young man actually dropped in impromptu with c.v. and supporting dox in hand and was hired. Maybe you could try that approach. Good luck!

PS
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1550
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More positions are part-time and schools have pool positions.
So I decided to get certified in Washington but even high school teaching is harder to get.

Some grads get work at CWU, but it depends.
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uh huh



Joined: 14 Oct 2011
Posts: 110
Location: United States

PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:49 am    Post subject: Student slump Reply with quote

I was working at an IEC in Virginia, and enrollment is way down. A former colleague, who has the most seniority as an adjunct, went from 24 hours to about seven this term; none of the other adjuncts got work. In addition to the drop in the number of Saudis, we lost many Chinese students (our largest population).
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 269

PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 9:56 am    Post subject: Re: Student slump Reply with quote

uh huh wrote:
In addition to the drop in the number of Saudis, we lost many Chinese students (our largest population).


Yes, the drop in oil prices have meant that the Saudi government is cutting back:

http://money.cnn.com/2016/02/09/news/saudi-arabia-students-overseas/
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11247
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even the Saudis are getting a taste of adjunct work in their home country:

Universities hire part-time staff ‘to evade Saudization’
Arab News | 29 August 2016
Source: http://www.arabnews.com/node/977006/saudi-arabia

TAIF: A number of universities have reportedly resorted to hiring part-time Saudi staff with higher degrees, using the pay-by-hour system to avoid permanent employment. This practice was started after some Saudi universities were criticized for recruiting non-Saudi teachers and ignoring the nationalization plan, local media reported on Sunday.

An academic working for a university said Saudis hired without a contract can be sacked any time, and have to work according to a schedule that has been prepared by the university. “He doesn’t have any idea about the financial reward, which is determined by the contractors; payments are sometimes delayed and paid at the end of the semester.”

He said that as a part-time professor, he is prevented from attending college and department meetings and he is provided with information through the foreign contractor. “The norms are often ignored and part-time lecturers are met with impossible terms if they seek a permanent job. They are often convinced to continue working as part timers and threatened with dismissal at any time.”

He said that students know the lecturer is a part time staff, which means he is a third grade employee, and is often subjected to complaints as well as academic blackmail, such as increasing the grades of students and approving the use of books written by some faculty members to be taught to the students. "Part-time lecturers have no right to ask for leave under any circumstances or any other benefits,” he added.

(End of article)
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kona



Joined: 17 Sep 2011
Posts: 186
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
Even the Saudis are getting a taste of adjunct work in their home country:

Universities hire part-time staff ‘to evade Saudization’
Arab News | 29 August 2016
Source: http://www.arabnews.com/node/977006/saudi-arabia

TAIF: A number of universities have reportedly resorted to hiring part-time Saudi staff with higher degrees, using the pay-by-hour system to avoid permanent employment. This practice was started after some Saudi universities were criticized for recruiting non-Saudi teachers and ignoring the nationalization plan, local media reported on Sunday.

An academic working for a university said Saudis hired without a contract can be sacked any time, and have to work according to a schedule that has been prepared by the university. “He doesn’t have any idea about the financial reward, which is determined by the contractors; payments are sometimes delayed and paid at the end of the semester.”

He said that as a part-time professor, he is prevented from attending college and department meetings and he is provided with information through the foreign contractor. “The norms are often ignored and part-time lecturers are met with impossible terms if they seek a permanent job. They are often convinced to continue working as part timers and threatened with dismissal at any time.”

He said that students know the lecturer is a part time staff, which means he is a third grade employee, and is often subjected to complaints as well as academic blackmail, such as increasing the grades of students and approving the use of books written by some faculty members to be taught to the students. "Part-time lecturers have no right to ask for leave under any circumstances or any other benefits,” he added.

(End of article)


Yikes! That's even more depressing than the adjunct situation here! Ugh, the whole world economy seems bent on sliding back into the toilet...

Quote:
I was working at an IEC in Virginia, and enrollment is way down. A former colleague, who has the most seniority as an adjunct, went from 24 hours to about seven this term; none of the other adjuncts got work. In addition to the drop in the number of Saudis, we lost many Chinese students (our largest population).


Even Chinese numbers are down? I thought all the capital flight out of China would at least partially prop up the ESL industry... Guess it's all just going to land grabs. Rolling Eyes
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fraup



Joined: 27 Dec 2004
Posts: 91
Location: OZ (American version)

PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our EAP program is fairly robust--in fact, most classes fill up well before the deadline, and several of us have had to take in 1-2 extra people. HOWEVER, due to my state suddenly deciding that all of us teaching EAP must have 18 graduate hours in TESOL, I'm going to be out of a job come next June.

I was hired ten years ago under the "MA in TESOL or equivalent master's" criteria (I have an M.A. in German) and have had my CELTA (Pass B!) since 2004. My evals have been excellent, and I taught for Oxford Seminars for about 4 years, also with excellent student evals. But apparently this doesn't count--just that additional piece of paper, which I don't have. One other adjunct is in the same position, and frankly I think it's a disguised bit of age discrimination as we are both "of a certain age", i.e. over 65.

Bottom line: you need a master's in TESOL, or something more equivalent than a foreign language M.A., to teach in community college now. Even though I probably learned more in my CELTA program than many M.A. TESOL programs offer, it's ignored by the powers-that-be here.
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madhatter109



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here in Chicago, the numbers at language schools seem pretty stable. It seems that most are made up of Russian and Vietnamese students. It's really true about China. My previous school only had Chinese students and this fall their admissions fell by half. Talking with my Chinese co-workers and students, they're nervous about being on the edge of a serious recession/depression even worse than we saw in 2008 (and rightfully so they should be worried, it doesn't look good at all).

But as everywhere else in this country, all the positions available are for adjuncts.I got job offers from 5 language schools in Chicago, but declined each and every one of them. We shouldn't support this type of behavior from schools. Someone magically decided that no teachers should receive full time benefits and that's not right. So if we all decline these adjunct positions, they'll have no teachers and will eventually be forced to hiring full time. I got a data entry job that pays the same as teaching, way less stress and with benefits. I love teaching and will gladly accept a full time job, but I won't be used by high Ed as an adjunct.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11247
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

madhatter109 wrote:
But as everywhere else in this country, all the positions available are for adjuncts. I got job offers from 5 language schools in Chicago, but declined each and every one of them. We shouldn't support this type of behavior from schools. Someone magically decided that no teachers should receive full time benefits and that's not right. So if we all decline these adjunct positions, they'll have no teachers and will eventually be forced to hiring full time.

You know that's not realistic. Besides, don't assume every teacher is displeased with adjuncting; some consider it extra money and not primary income.
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madhatter109



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just curious, but why do people like being adjuncts? The adjunct positions I've worked in and heard about all have you teaching the same hours as FT teachers, but without the added time for prep/admin duties. It's usually about the same per hour, but you only end up getting paid for the 20-25 hours of teaching you do. You teach the same hours (or more) than full time and take home about half the pay, forcing you to work other jobs on the weekend / split shift.plus no benefits... pulling in 20-25k per year. I used to be an adjunct in my mid 20s...worked two-three part time jobs at the same time, but I don't know if I could still do it anymore. I've never met a professor/teacher in any field who was happy about being an adjunct.
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rtm



Joined: 13 Apr 2007
Posts: 1002
Location: US

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

madhatter109 wrote:
Just curious, but why do people like being adjuncts?

In ESL in the US, I've known adjuncts who were satisfied in that position because they have health insurance through their spouse's job, and their spouse makes enough that adjuncting is a nice supplement to the household income. I've also known some adjuncts who like the fact that they can come, teach their class, and leave.

Originally (and still in many disciplines) adjuncts were people who had a full-time job (e.g., in industry) and taught a class on the side (hence the term 'adjunct,' i.e., a supplement to their main job). That isn't really the case in ESL in the US, but it does happen in, for example, EFL in Japan, where most full-time university EFL teachers also teach a couple classes as an adjunct at nearby university.

All of that said, I agree that most adjuncts are not happy being adjuncts.
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 1317
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not the breadwinner so for me, the $25k annual + benefits sure beats the other alternatives to stay home with the kids. It wouldn't be a great situation if it was our sole income of course.
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kona



Joined: 17 Sep 2011
Posts: 186
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to hear some schools are still maintaining their student numbers; I'm going to keep hammering away at it, while simultaneously casting a larger net for related jobs.

Here in Washington, I think the more rural universities were hit the hardest by the Saudi cuts, but Seattle on the other hand has no shortage of very well qualified education professionals trying to eek out a living here.
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