Contract Faculty Stories


Centennial Professor

 I am a Professor at Centennial College

in the School of Community and Health Studies - program in Fitness and Health Promotion

There are so many reasons why I love my job: I love educating young minds and exposing them to knowledge, ideas, values that they may never had before. I love the opportunity of being a mentor to them, a person they can trust, an instructor who cares about them and has one goal in mind: to see succeed in life. I love being able to expand their minds, to see things differently, to learn not just the curriculum I teach, but to learn about life, about being an adult, about being responsible, mature and authentic. In short, I love helping to shape, inspire and uplift young minds.

But, I don't live with dignity getting paid so little with no job security...no knowledge of how many hours and pay I will receive each semester. This is not a life where I can plan for my future...for vacation...for retirement.

 

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College Boreal Professor

I am a professor at College Boreal

Why do you love your job?

I love my students.

Tell us about your proudest moment:

My proudest moment is when a student's improvement enables them to gain full-time employment in their field.

What are the challenges you face in your work?

We are on perpetual contract with a wage 'freeze.' Costs rise (rent, TTC, general inflation), yet the wage does not. There is no possibility for a raise or becoming a full-time employee.

What would job security and better working conditions mean to you?

It would mean feeling like a bona fide employee. It would mean having more than zero sick days and zero non-paid stat holidays. It would mean being able to make plans six months from now because I would know where I'd be working and what my schedule will be.

I have worked at York University, Centennial College, and Seneca College -- roads that led nowhere but contracts and insecurity session to session.

We need to work to make teaching a profession again, and not one of several part-time jobs.

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Algonquin College Professor

I am professor at Algonquin College. I teach in Language Arts.

Why do you love your job?

To me, teaching ESL is one of the most rewarding, exciting, and interesting fields. I get to meet people from such different walks of life and parts of the world - our paths would never cross otherwise. Students let me in on little pieces of their history and experiences and future goals, and I have the opportunity to cheer them on toward those goals. To me, it's honestly so much fun.

What are the challenges you face in your work?

Working at the College has been really hard. The pay is not enough to make ends meet on my own, so instead of living in an apartment I had to rent a room in a house.

I was only paid for my "contact hours" - this excludes prep,marking, and admin time. So not only could I not make enough to sustain myself, but the time I could have spent working another job was instead spent on the unpaid necessities of doing my job well.

 

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Professor--George Brown College

I am a professor at George Brown College

What would job security and better working conditions mean to you?

It would mean that I would not be living in a constant state of anxiety and precarity. It would help provide some consistency to my career and allow me to plan better for my courses, term to term. It would mean having better work-life balance. There are times as a contract worker I feel that I am at risk of burning out. Ultimately, it would help to know that I am a valued member of my college community, someone who is worth investing in.

I have been a contract worker for 7 years, and I know many colleagues in similar situations to myself. It pains me that this is the reality that exists for so many hard working teachers in the college. This has significant psychological impacts--it creates anxiety, isolation, competition and alienation. It promotes an 'us' versus 'them' mentality in a vastly inequitable, multi-tiered system.

 

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Professor at Centennial College

I am a Professor. I work at Centennial College in the school of Advancement (English and ESL)

Why do you love your job?

I love my academic ESL teaching job with every single cell of my existence. I started teaching ESL at the college level 18 years ago. And, I am going to do it until my very last breath. However, when it comes to the money I make, my job is a DISASTER. During all these years, I have always had other minimum-wage jobs to make ends meet.

What would job security and better working conditions mean to you?

I need a permanent and full time position otherwise, I do not know how my family and I are going to end up.

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Algonquin College Professor

I am a Professor. I work at Algonquin College

Why do you love your job?

I love working with students and community partners. I enjoy the challenge of finding student placements and developing cooperative relationships with community partners. I love to see how the students grow professionally over the time they are at the college.

I love what I do. I just don't like feeling like a second class citizen who can be dropped at a whim. Also, because I have a second job to make ends meet, it means that when I am off from the college (May to September) I cannot collect EI because I am still employed. From May to September, my total income drops to 40% of what I make from September to April (If I am given contracts for both semesters). I would make more money on EI, but if I quit my second job, I will have to find another part-time job when September rolls around again. It's like being on a perpetual treadmill.

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Seneca Professor

I am a professor at Seneca College

Why do you love your job?

It is important for students to have great role models. When I was a student myself, it was thanks to one of my teachers that I decided to one day teach at the college level.

What would job security and better working conditions mean to you?

Job security would mean that I would have continuity in a program. Many times when I started a class, I would have to redevelop the entire course, because I would not be given any material. Better working conditions would also mean that I would not have to work at different colleges, and spend valuable time travelling, and could spend more time focusing on the students and the courses.

Professors, like myself, have to take on part-time hours at many different colleges just to be able to support our families. We love the work at the colleges. I think that many of us are blinded by the hope that one day we will get a full-time job with the college, and that all the efforts will pay off. I've been doing this for the last 4 years, and I know that professors like me are disposable, and that there are a lot of other people lining up for these contracts. It is easy for colleges to act in this particular way, when there are no restrictions on what they can do.

In the end, the quality of services we provide is affected and, any additional time we spend (where we are not paid) is automatically a loss in your hourly rate.  If I counted the extra work that I've done without getting paid, my per hour rate would go as low as minimum wage.

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Professor--Seneca College

I am a Professor. I work at Seneca college

Things have gotten so bad of late that I have considered leaving the profession. I am sure that I am not alone. I have seen other great teachers leave the school because they were treated like dirt. The tide has to turn. You can only "kick the cat" so many times before the cat goes for your throat. We have administrators that are cold, heartless and unqualified. There must be better candidates out there and there must be a better way. To the schools in general, stop saying there is no money to pay teachers as you waste funds on redundant administrative positions, unneeded technologies and renovations. The answer is there. We just need better people at the table.  

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Canadore College Professor

I am a professor. I work at Canadore College.

While I love my job as a Professor, the conditions under which I find myself working (contract to contract) are less than ideal.

Living at or below the poverty line means that most of my income from the college goes to basic living expenses. With no pension plan and no health benefits, how am I supposed to set aside money for my so-called retirement years, let alone afford any unforeseen medical expenses?

Better working conditions for me (full-time position, health benefits, pension plan) would help remove the financial worry about how to make ends meet, and let me truly focus on my teaching.

The spin-off effect of my (and others) precarious work is that I am not supporting our Canadian economy as I used to. I no longer eat out at restaurants or go to movies, I no longer buy new clothes at retail stores but instead buy used clothes from Value Village or Salvation Army. My vehicle is getting older (12 years old) and a new vehicle purchase is not in the future. I have no future home buying plans, and will continue to rent.

I see the college investing in their management personnel and infrastructure, but have not seen any real commitment to hiring and retaining full-time faculty. Instead, they are abusing what was intended to be a temporary measure and using it for their own financial gain.

Job security (full-time position) would mean that the college is investing not only in me as a professor, but in the future of quality education.

Equal pay for equal work!

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Fanshawe College Professor

I am a Professor. I work at Fanshawe College in the Lawrence Kinlin School of Business

What would job security and better working conditions mean to you?

Working contract to contract is very unsettling so I cannot give up my employment outside of the college. I also have no time off unless it is without pay which is challenging to do financially. I have now taught for 3 years straight without taking any time off. A full-time job would allow me to concentrate all my efforts on one position only and my students would be better served.

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