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To teach or not to teach


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I am now and have been an adjunct for some time at one college. Just this semester I have been teaching at another college in the university system. Luckily I have received a fellowship along with my PhD acceptance. I have already told one school that I am no longer available to teach. But the newer school is only a 30-minute drive from where I'll be going to school.

Should I continue to teach that one class and consider it extra income? Or thank my lucky stars that I have no TA, GA, or RA responsibilities? I've already been assigned an advisor and been working with a research team. I'll be taking 3 courses in the fall. My advisor has already told me that the person who teaches one of those courses, the first prereq for my program, gets a bit insane with the reading list. I really want to dive into my new work. But the extra income would be nice and I generally like the students at this college. I just don't have a good guage for how much more work I should be prepared for.

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It depends on you and your organizational skills.  Personally, I would say if you can avoid teaching in your first year, do so.  But how rigorous your classwork is depends on your department.  I'm in an interdisciplinary program.  In one of my departments, the classes involved ~100 pages of reading a week each and you had to be prepared for the discussion in a deep way.  Each class had at least one paper, and sometimes two, that involved several weeks' worth of work (and outside reading).  In the other department, we only had 3-5 empirical studies to read per week (which can be read very quickly) and honestly, you didn't have to read them in order to participate in the discussion.  There were no papers, and sometimes classes had no evaluative assignments at all.


I gotta say, though, I don't really like teaching all that much (I guess it's okay) and I TA for extra compensation.  My base salary is only $30,000, but it is REALLY nice to have the extra income.  And since you have experience teaching and it won't be a new prep, it will be less time-consuming than starting to teach for the first time.  So it really depends on you.  Another way to find out is to ask other current grad students if any of them work outside of the program.


Personally, I would take off the first year but ask them if it is possible for you to teach again in your second or third year.

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Find out from your PhD program whether you are allowed to maintain outside employment.

I second this.  It seems messed up to me that one "job" (grad school) can dictate whether or not you have another job, but that's how it works here.  I get that they are paying me to be a student, and expect me to spend time doing that, but if I spend twelve hours a week volunteering or pursuing a hobby, they won't complain unless my work suffers.  If did the exact same activities and got paid, they'd raise a big stink!

  Ask the department administrator for insight into what is officially allowed, and also what is considered acceptable by faculty.  (If you can get tips as to how your adviser will react before you tell him/her, so much the better!)

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