To escape poverty, teachers offer sex for money and sleep in cars.

Adjunct professors in the United States face low wages and a long working day; they do not receive insurance and full-fledged wages. Some of them, fearing to be on the street, resort to desperate measures.

Most of all she likes to teach. But, having already added additional tutoring and proofreading to her studies, the university lecturer decided to take extreme measures so that her career would give her enough income for life.

For the first time, she took up non-core work in a particularly difficult period, which happened several years ago, when her study load was suddenly halved, and her income dropped sharply, which made her almost evicted from her home. “I thought then - well, I had cases in my life when I had sex once and then I said goodbye to a man - what’s so terrible about that? She says. “Well, there was nothing wrong with that.”

A peering middle-aged woman with a very tired voice, who lives in a major US city, and asked to remain anonymous to protect her reputation - an adjunct instructor. This means that she is not a full-fledged member of the faculty at some institute, and makes ends meet, teaching various separate courses in several colleges [ Russian equivalent to adjunct professor - associate professor / approx. trans. ].

“I feel that it is my duty to help the millennials , the new generation, to acquire critical thinking,” she says. “And I'm good at it, and I like it a lot.” And it is painful to realize that they pay less for this than I deem necessary. ”

Sex services are one of several unusual ways adjuncts use to avoid becoming beggars and homeless. A quarter of part-time teachers (many of them are adjuncts, although it is often the case that an adjunct works 40 hours a week or more) are registered in the Medicaid program [the US government health care program for those in need below the official poverty line / approx. trans. ].

They go down to food banks [ charitable distribution of products with an expiry date to those in need / approx. trans. ] and GoodWill [a charity collection and redistribution organization for used items / approx. trans. ]; there is even an adjunct cookbook , which describes how to prepare dishes from leftover meat, chicken bones and orange peel. There are those who have already lost their home or are on the verge of deprivation. The San Francisco newspaper The Guardian spoke with several teachers, including an adjunct living in a “hut” north of Miami, and another teacher who lives in her car in Silicon Valley.

An adjunct who has engaged in prostitution earns several thousand dollars for one course of instruction, and reads about six courses per semester. She estimates that she works 60 hours a week. But she barely makes ends meet, paying $ 1,500 for rent monthly and paying student debts she has accumulated for several hundred thousand dollars, including interest. Her teaching income reaches $ 40,000 per year. This is much more than most adjuncts: a survey from 2014 showed that the median income of an associate is $ 22,041 per year, and the salary of a full-time teacher is $ 47,500.

“We give something like a vow of poverty”

Recent reports have revealed the extent of poverty among teachers, but this problem is not one year old. A few years ago, she got into the headlines in a dramatic situation when Mary-Faith Kerazoli, associate professor of Romance languages ​​over the age of 50, revealed to the public that she lives on the street and protested at the entrance to the New York State Education Department.

“In order to continue to do our work, we give something like a vow of poverty,” Debra Lee Scott writes to me, working on a documentary film about associates . “We do this because we have dedicated ourselves to learning, science, students and our subjects.”

The number of adjuncts increased amid a fall in funding from public universities by almost a quarter from 1990 to 2009. Private institutes also saw the attractiveness of freelance teachers: they are usually cheaper to maintain than regular ones, they do not receive social package and money to support their own research, and You can flexibly restrict them so that they do not work out a full medical insurance.

Therefore adjuncts are called " fast-food workers of the academic world ": labor experts call the associate profession "dubious earnings." This is a growing category that includes such temporary jobs as the Uber driver. The American Sociological Association, studying dubious earnings in the scientific world, noted that "membership in the faculty is no longer a stable career for the middle class ."

Associate Professor of English Ellen James-Penny lives in a car with her husband and two dogs. Over the years they have come up with a whole system. "Do not save anything on the torpedo, do not leave anything on the floor - you can not look like a bum, you can not dress like a bum"

Fighting for a roof over your head takes many forms, and the second job is not the only way to stay afloat. The teacher, who has become a prostitute, says, says that it helps her not to fall out of the rental market.

“This is what I chose,” she says, adding that it is better for her to work for her personally than to work in a bar for six hours after a whole day of teaching. “I don't want it to look like,“ Oh, I had no choice, my life is so hard. ”

By placing ads on the Internet, she earns $ 200 per hour. She meets with clients several times a semester, more often in the summer when her studies end and she has no income.

"I am afraid that some day my student will come to me," she says. Yes, and the problems with money did not disappear. "My neck constantly hurts because I grit my teeth all night."

In order not to be on the street, some adjuncts are forced to seek compromises related to the living space.

Caprice Lawles, 65 years old, a teacher of copyright skills and an activist of the movement for improving the working conditions of adjuncts, lives in a brick house with an area of ​​100 sq.m. near the town of Boulder, pc. Colorado. She bought a house after a divorce twenty years ago. But due to the fact that her income from teaching, which she has been busy almost all the time, is only $ 18,000, she had to rebuild the house several times, and then she had to rent it out to three more women.

“I live from paycheck to paycheck, and all in debt,” she says. This includes machine repairs and hospital treatment due to food poisoning.

Like all adjuncts, she says she regarded this occupation as a way to work for a full day. She is so dependent on her work that she could not even take a break from her mother’s funeral. The day after she learned of her mother's death, she came to work by 8 am, read some lectures in a fog, and after that, despite the cane she used after hip surgery, she fell in the Institute’s parking lot .

She says that if she loses her home, she will have to rely only on public housing. “Many of my colleagues are ashamed of this situation for an understandable reason,” she says. - They take the situation on their own account, as if this is their fault. And I always tell them: “you are not guilty, the system is to blame”.

Doubtful situation

Even worse are adjuncts who live in poor conditions and are unable to correct them. Mindy Percival, 61, lectures for PhD students in Colombia, teaches history at a state college in Florida and, as she says, lives in a "hut" standing "in the wilderness".

Mindy Percival Mobile Home in Stuart, Florida. The stove, shower and water heater do not work.

The mobile home where she lives is in the city of Stuart, north of Miami, and was presented to her about eight years ago. Outside, it looks neat, but inside there are holes in the floor, and the wall decoration falls off. She does not have a washing machine, and the stove, shower and water heater do not work. “I’m on the verge of losing my home, constantly on the verge,” she says.

Percival once had a job with a promising job in the state, but she left her to care for a sick mother, not expecting that similar work would subsequently become impossible to find. Now, two weeks after the salary, "I may have a tin in which I will get $ 5 trifle." Her 18-year-old car broke down after Hurricane Irma, and a former student takes her to school, to whom she pays $ 20 a day for gasoline.

"I am trying terribly to get out of all this," she says.

Loss of housing is a real threat to adjuncts. When Ellen Tara James-Penny finishes writing and critical thinking at the University of San Jose in Silicon Valley, her husband Jim takes her. They eat dinner and go to the local church, where Jim breaks up a tent next to the car and sleeps there with one of their two mongrels. In the car, James-Penny lays out the seats and sleeps with another dog. She checks the work of pupils by the light of a salon lamp.

Over the years they have come up with a whole system. “Do not save anything on the torpedo, do not leave anything on the floor - you can’t look like a bum, you can’t dress like a bum.” Do not park anywhere for too long for the police to get to the bottom. ”

James-Penny, 54, has been fighting for a roof over her head since 2007, from the moment she began to study to get a bachelor's degree. Jim was 64 years old, he worked as a truck driver, but due to an intervertebral hernia, he was unable to continue working. Ellen last year earned $ 28,000, most of which went to pay debts. The remainder is not enough for rent in Silicon Valley.

At night, instead of a toilet, they have to use cups or plastic bags and wet wipes. To wash themselves, they find toilets and, as James-Penny says, "we have what we call a shower basin." The pair keeps all things in the trunk of the car and in the trunk on the roof. Among other things, they are struggling with the effects of aging - James-Penny has osteoporosis - living in a space where one cannot even get up.

James-Penny does not hide his position from his disciples. If her students start complaining about homeless people who sometimes appear on campus, she says: "You also have a homeless person in front of you."

“It usually stops all sounds in the room,” she says. “I tell them that their parents can also be in the same salary, one illness from the loss of housing, and this should not be ashamed.”

Ellen James-Penny teaches English to her students at the University of San Jose, California.

"Grabbed the dream"

Many adjuncts are trying to change something, forming trade unions, and such organizations have appeared in dozens of educational institutions in recent years. They achieved success; for some, the annual salary increases from 5% to 20%, according to Julia Schmid, executive director of the American Association of University Teachers.

Schools resist such attempts and argue that unions will increase the cost of education. And for individual adjuncts, any enhancements will come too late.

Mary-Faith Kerazoli, 56, who lives on the adjunct street, attracted public attention during a protest in New York three years ago, says that after this little has changed in her life. Two generous people, one pensioner and the second nurse, offered her temporary accommodation, but as a result she still found herself in a tent, and after that on a broken fishing boat on the quay on the Hudson River.

But one change has occurred. All these moves made it difficult to fulfill the teaching obligations, and, in any case, all the earnings were very small, so she gave up. She now lives in a state-paid room in a communal home north of New York.

Rebecca Snow, 51, another adjunct, abandoned teaching after one terrible life situation, feels liberated, although she has financial problems.

Rebecca Snow

She began teaching copyright in a community college in the Denver area in 2005, but the poor living conditions in those houses that she could afford, led to the fact that she had to move once every one or two years. She escaped from one house because of bedbugs, from the other when the sewage flooded her bath and the owner could not repair the pipes.

Sometimes her teenage son has to stay with her ex-husband when she is unable to provide them with a stable home. Snow even published a poem about housing adjuncts.

As a result, she bade farewell to this profession, when problems with housing and unstable work became unbearable, and the bills were overwhelming. Today she lives in a quiet apartment above a garage in a friend's house, located 15 miles from Spokane, pc. Washington. She has a view of the lake and wooded hills, she has already written one novel and is working on the second.

Learning was a fantasy, she says, but life on the verge of losing housing was a reality.

"I realized that I had been clinging to a dream for too long."


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