Out of the Shadows

For the dozen years I’ve worked at my community college, I’ve always taught at night. At first, it was because I had a full-time day job, then because I was dealing with my young children. Rob Jenkins recently wrote a post about moonlighting, which highlighted the reasons many faculty work at an additional campus, after their regular job.

This fall I’m slated to teach a daytime class. I saw an open section and jumped on the opportunity, even though as an adjunct it meant I had to give up one of the other classes I usually teach. Working at night has been nice for me but also exhausting—if nothing else, my vocabulary recall is much slower once the sun goes down. I enjoy my students and am sympathetic to their busy, tired lives. The second shift is hard, whether you come home from work and then deal with kids or vice versa.

Ideally, I would be segueing into a full-time, tenure-track position at this point. I’d still like that someday. But, for now, I’m just hoping to move into teaching during daylight hours. Seeing co-workers, even for a moment, seems intriguing—I often interact only by e-mail with others on campus.

Are there different dynamics at play in day and night classes? I have to confess that I only took one night course during my undergraduate days, and it was a struggle. I’d be grateful for any insights from you, dear readers, as I go forward.

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