Now I’ve taught a whole week at my new County College (CC) I can make informed comparisons with my old Research University (RU). The biggest differences is the number of contact hours and evening classes.
Previously, I taught two courses a semester, and that was a lot for my department, with 7 – 8 credit hours depending whether the course had a laboratory or not. Contact hours were more as I attended and taught every lab period. Thus, one semester I had 9 contact hours (6 hours lecture and 3 hours lab) and the other semester I had fourteen contact hours (5 lecture hours and 9 lab hours) as food analysis had a double lab. So far at CC I have three courses with release time for recruitment. As one course does not have a lab that means I have fifteen contact hours – I should have eighteen.
I am teaching three evenings a week, whereas I never taught evenings at RU. I actually quite like it except for the limitation on my social life. I certainly prefer commuting at off-peak times.
As I taught an unpopular major at RU, most of my classes were small sometimes as few as 3 or 4 students, but often around 8-12. I did teach one medium sized course which I set at 50 students after two years of trying to teach it with sixty-five students. All my courses at CC are set at 24-26 students. If they get more students, a new section will open.
Another major difference is that at CC I am contractually obliged to provide office hours – 5 h per week spread over three days. I’m doing slightly more than that as I am at work anyway.