alt ed and new starts

When I teach outside of the college, they call it “alt ed.”

I haven’t decided what I think of that term. Or even if I care. I probably don’t.

I’m finding that there are so many different terms for what I do. I already posted about being a beta professional when what I thought I was doing was teaching at a college.

I think I already mentioned one group of bullying full-time tenured faculty who referred to two of us adjuncts as “stinkin’ up” the copy room.

Over the last dozen years, I’ve found some tenured faculty do have that sort of contempt for contingent faculty.

Plenty of contingent faculty teach very well. There are roadblocks. This is a problem. It’s a problem that I don’t have an office. My students and I develop work-arounds. It’s less than ideal. Who suffers the most? Of course it’s the students.

If someone has contempt for (other) teachers, then what does that say about what they think about their students?

Probably a typical beta professional classroom at one time or another.

Probably a typical beta professional classroom at one time or another.

Yes, that’s an old-fashioned chalkboard.

The classroom I’m assigned has no whiteboard, no smartboard, just lots of enthusiastic students and an instructor who still enjoys it all. I do have a projector that works and internet access. Yes, that’s also less than ideal. My job is to get them through the introductory courses and ready to go on to their four-year university. I’ll do it as long as I can.

Back to “alt ed.” That’s where RSF workshops put me. Or would put me — if I were to decide there’s a good and equitable way to bring income in from this endeavor. Since these workshops are not generating income, in fact RSF itself isn’t generating income, not right now anyway, I’m only potentially working in alt ed.

For it to be education, to some people, money has to pass hands.


If academicians want to keep nudging me until they get me into that alt ed enclosure that’s fine.

I’ll open this place as a nonprofit learning center if and when I’m good and ready.

I do what I do. And I can define or redefine the terms. Learning is learning.

I feel pretty free. I had to let go of certain expectations to get to this point.

It also helped to begin to think realistically about ways that my future might look.

That’s a tough one. It has taken me two and a half years, the finalization of my divorce, hard realizations about my position in life, a loan modification on my mortgage, and (ta da!) the arrival of CoveredCA Blue Shield cards for me and EE.

That’s a start or another start that feels better than the first (new) start.

Moonlight reflection by Erin Ward.

Moonlight reflection by Erin Ward.

About rainshadowfarm

I teach anthropology, am an archaeologist, a drylands agroecologist, community educator, and a single mother of eight grown kids. I currently own and operate an educational and research farm in the southern Mojave Desert, Rainshadow Farm. I'm 100% West Virginia hillbilly. Not necessarily in that order.
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2 Responses to alt ed and new starts

  1. praw27 says:

    Sometimes “refining” what you “do” and what you “expect” from yourself and from life in general can be tough. When the process allows you to see some light again, the sensation can be so freeing that you feel you can fly! I hope you are soaring!

    • That’s for certain! I don’t know about flying – would be nice – but it’s good to have days when I’m not always looking over my shoulder and then peering into some murky future. 🙂

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