Nagina Parmar’s Experience

Posted March 3rd, 2015 By OCUFA

Biology, Microbiology and Drug development courses, Ryerson University

I’ve worked as a contract faculty member for 15 years. I currently teach Biology, Microbiology and Drug development courses. I love my job because teaching is my passion, it is something I was trained for and I have so much experience which I would like to share with the students. Also, I show them how amazing the biology is especially to non-majors who get thrilled by the activities we do in the classrooms. I’ll never forget when students’ achievements are higher than expected and also they remember me even after few semesters of teaching. Also one student did her thesis with me and that was a great learning experience. I’m extremely proud of when students send me their  feedback that how I show empathy and they enjoy my lectures and have fun at the same time.

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 be able to incorporate my training as a basic and clinical researcher and provide more insight into the subject being taught.  I will have my own research project and apply for funding with interesting ideas and able. It would also mean that I will be able to have my research interests being recognized and appreciated. On a more personal level, I would have the opportunity to be well respected, recognized and feel satisfied of my achievements which I am trained for.

Each week, I travel 250 kilometres to get to work and do 20 hours of additional unpaid work to support my students. In return, I have some benefits. This is on top of <$10,000 in student debt. I currently have a very low level of job security, which makes it hard to focus sometimes on the teaching and also explore different areas to teach. Not knowing the courses you are going to teach in the next semester make it very hard to design the courses the way you would like. It also add unnecessary stress of waiting if you will get the course or not.

Overall, I want to tell you that The life as an adjunct faculty is very unstable. It seems like we are living from semester to semester, waiting for the courses to fall in our lap and waiting for the university to toss us out whenever they feel. Nobody cares or have a clue about the extra hours we put in to prepare the course outlines, lectures, assignments, marking and other administrative tasks. We also take the time from our family to do all these tasks when we are preparing for our lectures in return for nothing. This doesn’t end there as adding extra workload  leads to extra stress, health issues (e.g. high blood pressure, psychological issues, sleep deprivation etc.).    Some of us have other jobs to pay for the mortgages, kids expenses and tuition, and the other job suffer due to the class scheduling issues at the same time when we have to attend the other work. Sometimes universities promise to get you LTF for 3- 4 years but then these jobs are being given to the ones who have less teaching experiences due to favoritism.   It is very frustrating that all the contract faculty are so highly educated and still feels like every semester we have to think if we will be given this job then we will be able to pay those bill piling up. There is a need to create full time teaching positions to avoid the hassle of changing professors every semester to provide stability to the students and to the contract faculty. Hope that day will come one day as they say” There is always light at the end of the tunnel “

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