First Circle – Paper Grading

Grade student papers for eternity. Correct the same mistakes over and over. This is considered the worst circle of adjunct hell. Most adjuncts prefer gouging out their eyeballs and spending eternity in darkness than grading more papers.

Second Circle – Classroom Observation

Here the department chair sits in on every one of your classes. She never leaves. She just sits there, scribbling furiously away. Every fifteen minutes, she gets up and hands you notes on what you’re doing wrong and how you could improve your pedagogy.

Third Circle – New Employee Orientation

In this circle, an HR manager reads the new employee manual aloud for eternity. There are no refreshments, no bathroom breaks, no questions. Every few minutes the HR manager reminds you that you are worthless and therefore ineligible for benefits and that your contract may be terminated at any time.

Fourth Circle – Blackboard Training

Mandatory for all new adjuncts. Learn how to upload a syllabus from a sixty-five-year-old man a month away from retirement who recently figured out email. Watch him spend eternity trying to find which folder he saved his sample syllabus in.

Fifth Circle – Office Hours

Sit in a drab office for the rest of eternity with no phone, no Internet access and otherwise no contact with the outside world. Students never come. You would cancel your office hours except your department chair would fire you if she ever found out you were skipping your office hours.

Sixth Circle – Parking

Being an adjunct too poor to afford a parking pass, you aimlessly drive around campus looking for a free parking spot. There are none so you drive around for the rest of eternity hoping a spot will magically open.

Seventh Circle – Setting Up Email

Spend the first half of eternity on the phone with the help desk trying to set up your email account. When they do create your email address, realize they made a mistake in the spelling of your last name. Spend the second half of eternity on the phone trying to rectify this mistake. In end, give up and realize this is a blessing in disguise because it makes it harder for students to contact you.

Eighth Circle – Getting Paid

A month after your first class, realize you haven’t been getting paid. Spend the rest of eternity on the phone with the HR department trying to rectify this problem. Turns out you were entered into the system incorrectly. Apologize as if this is somehow your fault.

Ninth Circle – Teaching Composition

The most challenging and depressing circle of adjunct hell. Realize that after the first day your students are reading and writing at a fifth grade level. Spend eternity trying to teach them grammar and the basics of syntax. Realize it is going to take a lot longer than eternity to teach them how to write.