I currently have two part-time jobs. One (tutoring) is wonderful, and fun, and fulfilling, and also pays pretty damn well—but not quite well enough that I feel good about just having that job (as in, I can pay my bills, but can't save anything and I'm trying to have a wedding this summer). The other (teaching) is stressful and I feel really unsupported. I was hired without an interview and I was pretty upfront about my level of teaching experience (not much). The class structure is bizarre—the university is mostly online, and even though I'm teaching in-person (for four hours, once a week) they want me to keep the same structure of class (which doesn't really work for what they have online, which is mostly threaded discussions). This "semester" (semesters are 8 weeks) I have been just winging it, and coming up with readings/exercises/discussions that I think will be helpful. However, I am still pretty inexperienced and so it's been trial and error.

There also are constant issues with the facilities (it's a small classroom on a military base and one night they were cleaning the carpet, two nights the internet has been out, etc.), difficulties with the online system (several of my current students have had trouble logging on and now I'm getting yelled at because they didn't submit their papers online) and I'm expected to somehow deal with students who are away on duty for half of the class sessions (currently I've been writing long winded emails that detail what we covered during a 4-hour class, which is both time-consuming and rarely as helpful as being in class would have been). Also, the students basic skill levels vary greatly. Based on the essays that were just turned in, some of them should have been able to test out of a 101 level class, and some should have been placed in a developmental class. I'm not sure if this University is assessing levels, but I'm guessing they might not be. All-in-all it's been a puzzling, frustrating, and anxiety-inducing situation. Luckily, the students themselves are (with a few exceptions) delightfully hard working, respectful, and eager to learn.

Now the University has asked me to teach and develop a curriculum for an English 2 class. Granted, I've never indicated that I have experience building a class from the ground floor up, I'm not allowed to use textbooks, I'm still supposed to build it based on their online format—even though it will be in person—and because of the holidays this class will be 6 weeks instead of 8. But I'm not supposed to give out homework. Basically I end up feeling like A) they have unfair expectations of me that I am now super anxious about not meeting and B) the education these students are getting is not comparable to a normal semester-long course. I can't fathom of keeping students in the classroom for more than 4 hours—and already feel like they don't have enough time to write their two required essays because in-class writing isn't for everyone, and I'm not supposed to give out homework.

So, basically I'm just super stressed and frustrated, and am seriously considering backing out of the second class but I'm also worried about A) giving up a fairly decent second source of income and B) worry that I will screw over the students who are just trying to finish up degrees before they retire. Also, while I probably would be happy to never work for them again, it would be nice to be able to put them on my CV, and not worry about getting flamed if they get contacted. I could just make it through this next semester, and decline any future assignments—which is probably the most responsible thing to do—but I'm also just so stressed as a result of this job and feel like I would be better off getting out and using the extra time to find something I like better.


I know this is kind of rambly, and probably doesn't give a full picture of the situation, but I guess the basic question her is: should I keep doing a stressful but lucrative job that I already agreed to do, or should I bail and deal with the consequences but have the space to hopefully find something I like better?