Annette Amba’s Story
Literary Studies, McMaster Unviersity
I’ve worked as a contract faculty member for more than 18 years. I currently teach Literary Studies. I love my job because I love learning and being in a teaching environment is the best way to stay informed and alive. I’ll never forget when a student first claimed that a course I taught had changed their life. I’m extremely proud of the time I didn’t let pride push me into false humility 🙂.
If contract professors became full-time faculty, we could offer so much more to universities, students and Canadian research. As a full-time faculty member, I would spend more time reading literature and criticism about literature. It would also mean I could stop spending my time applying for jobs that I already do and have done for over 10 years now. On a more personal level, I could stop worrying about whether I’m “good” enough at something I’ve been doing for over 10 years because my courses could be cut at any time.
Each week, I travel over 500 kms to get to work and do countlesshours of additional unpaid work to support my students. In return, I have nobenefits. This is on top of $10,000-$20,000in student debt I owe after studying at to become an expert in . My current income is below that of a full-time faculty member. I currently have little job security, which makes it hard to feel confident about my future.
Overall, I want to tell you that contract faculty are no less qualified than full-time faculty to teach university courses. They are simply not given a fair wage for their work because they work by contract. Why do we do it? Because we have little other choice if we want to continue on the career path we spent over 10 years preparing ourselves for because we love to learn. Oh the lessons I’ve learned…