Denise Davis-Gains’ Experience

Posted March 23rd, 2015 By OCUFA

I’ve worked as a contract faculty member for 16 years. I currently teach physical fitness, group exercise and yoga. I love my job because it is an honour to educate and inspire students.  I love the ah-ha moments and the feedback in journals about the learning process and the material presented. I’ll never forget when a student shared about using a technique that she learned in class to help her get a good nights sleep.  A chronic insomniac used a yoga relaxation tool to learn to sleep better. I’m extremely proud of the time I discovered the connection between yoga nidra and parkinson’s disease.

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 have more interaction with students and be able to provide hands on tools for managing stress and anxiety. It would also mean doing research in the area of yoga and yoga nidra thereby expanding the body of knowledge in this ancient tradition. On a more personal level, I would be able to support my family without having to work 60-80hours a week in 5 jobs.

Each week, I travel 200-300 kms to get to work and do 12-20 hours of additional unpaid work to support my students. In return, I have no benefits. This is on top of <$10,000 in student debt I owe. My current income is insecure and below the poverty line. I currently have zero job security, which makes it hard to own a home and plan for the future.

Overall, I want to tell you that I love what I do.  I am passionate about the subject matter that I study and teach.  I would like to complete my advanced education and do research but working 5 jobs to support my family (three children and two aging parents – as a single parent) prevents me from having time and money to do so.

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