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Question about teaching math at the community college level

  1. Dec 5, 2014 #1
    I've noticed that the pay for part time Math lecturers at CA community colleges appears to be pretty good, ~$45+/hour. My wife mentioned that most CC/college lecturers she's known have to spend more time preparing for and maintaining classes that they're paid for, which leads to them making something like ~$15/hour after everything's said and done.

    Have any math lecturers experienced this, or is the amount of time you're paid for generally pretty close to the amount of time you need to invest in each course?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 5, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Think about the work your teachers had to go through. Class prep which is done when you teach the course for the first time and then refined thereafter. There's student homework, do you grade it all or select problems? Creating quizzes and tests and grading them.

    Developing according to the curriculum, handling students with problems via office hours...

    I think it would be fun but it is a lot of work.

    The one thing I remember was having a hoarse voice and being somewhat drained after teaching. In my case, it was teaching a two week programming class to other employees. No tests but we had lab work and a lot of neophytes taking the class that dragged down the schedule. Anyway, you get the picture.

    One last thing is that you need to stay on top of the grading so you can tell students when they are in jeopardy of flunking otherwise you will run the risk of panicking students pestering you in the final weeks fearful of flunking and wanting extra credit...
  4. Dec 5, 2014 #3
    So I've taught intro math and intro physics at a local community college. The least I've been paid for 1 course is $2000, the most is $3500. One course is about 3 hours of lecturing and 2 office hours a week for a few months.

    The first few times teaching a subject, designing lectures and homeworks takes easily 10-15 hours a week, and grading is easily another 4 or 5, depending on the size of the course. I teach entirely for fun, not for profit, but in a few years now, I've never gotten lucky enough to have the same subject twice (I've done intro calc 1, intro calc 2, intro mechanics, intro electricity and magnetism, and linear algebra).

    So all in all, I probably put in 20-30 hours a week for a single class, though next time I teach the same subject that could drop to maybe 10-15 hours a week because I'll already have some notes written up. A semester is about 15 weeks, so I'm probably making a bit less than $10 an hour on my teaching. If I get to the point where I'm reusing lectures that I think work, I might be able to get that up to $20 or so.
  5. Dec 5, 2014 #4
    Around fivish years ago I was offered a job at a technical college teaching math and physics for $50/year. I think it would have taken me 40-50 hours a week to do, maybe more at first.
  6. Dec 5, 2014 #5


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    I'm assuming you were adjunct faculty. I knew a lot of professors at my community college that were adjunct faculty. They had to teach at 3-4 different colleges in the area, it seems like not a sustainable career.
  7. Dec 6, 2014 #6


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    I hope you meant $50K/year.
  8. Dec 6, 2014 #7
    I don't know about community college, but in grad school I was paid $3000 to teach a 6 week summer course. Under the extremely conservative estimate that I was working at least 60 hours a week, seeing as how I was pretty much working all day long, every day, for the most part, not to mention a bit of prep work before the class even started, that works out to about $8.33 an hour. This is for someone with particular teaching difficulties, and relatively limited experience, although I was not a raw beginner. I really agonized over how to do my lectures for hours each day. I can't absolutely say it was that bad, since I didn't write down how much time I was spending, but I distinctly remember that I was working more or less the whole day, stopping only to cook and eat on most days, so it's my suspicion that I was actually making considerably below minimum wage. It's not really normal to put in that kind of an effort, but that's how bad of a teacher I was. It was more or less necessary. I ended the class with lukewarm reviews.
  9. Dec 6, 2014 #8
    Hmm... It looks like course prep does really reduce the actual rate of pay. Thanks everyone!
  10. Dec 7, 2014 #9


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    With your username, I'm not sure if you are old enough to have the credentials to teach college level math.

    There are other jobs for people your age earning similar wages anyways, good luck.
  11. Dec 7, 2014 #10
    Dear sir or ma'am, my receding hairline contradicts your assertion!

    Anyhoo, thanks again! The advice has been extremely helpful, and also explains why most of my CC lecturers graded assignments in class.
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