Confessions of an Accidental Professor reveals ten years of teaching college freshman through the prism of an adjunct professor. In this hybrid memoir, essays are interspersed with anonymous student evaluations, emails, and chair observations. The issues range from serious (rape and sexual assault of college students) to silly (being contacted by a twenty-five-year-old former student who sent photos of himself stripped to the waist and asked for a date.) The relationships between students and teacher reveal the challenges and satisfactions of an underpaid adjunct professor with humor, drama and immediacy.
About the Author
Lisa del Rosso originally trained as a classical singer and completed a post-graduate program at LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art), living and performing in London before moving to New York City. Her plays Clare’s Room and Samaritan, have been performed off-Broadway and had public readings, respectively, while St. John, her third play, was a semi-finalist for the 2011 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Barking Sycamores, Neurodivergent Literature, Razor’s Edge Literary Magazine, The Literary Traveler, Serving House Journal, VietnamWarPoetry, Young Minds Magazine (London/UK), Time Out New York, The Huffington Post, The Neue Rundschau (Germany), Jetlag Café (Germany), and One Magazine (London/UK), for whom she writes theater reviews. She teaches writing at New York University.
As an account of the contemporary academic adjunct catastrophe, del Rosso’s book should be required reading for full-time professors and their administrative bosses who are charged with maintaining the integrity of their institutions—of course, they’ll likely flinch in the face of the reality that defines the life of the adjunct professor and that seems beyond redeeming and out of their control. It’s not, and that’s an important part of this story. However, what makes this rollicking, painful, smart, hilarious, and honest memoir required reading for all of us is its enormous heart: in adversity, del Rosso upholds and celebrates her students and her life—it is, in the end, a triumphant embrace.
—David Daniel, Co-founder and former president of the Affiliated Faculty of Emerson College; Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
What is it about composition and writing classes that impels students and professors to bond, bitch, reveal, reflect, and often develop the closest of human bonds among one another? Lisa del Rosso’s account of her years teaching at colleges, ranging from sublime to obscure, offers us a gritty account of America’s hard-working, long-suffering, ever-exploited and ferociously committed professorial underclass. In so doing, she exposes the lesser-known peculiarities and exigencies of the teacherly life—experiences that all true teachers have experienced, whether they care to admit it or not.
—Jacques Berlinerblau, Professor, Georgetown University; author of Campus Confidential: How College Works, Or Doesn’t, For Professors, Parents, And Students
Lisa del Rosso portrays the most accurate picture of academic life I’ve encountered. She goes beyond simply depicting the joy, humor, absurdity, heartbreak and satisfaction of working with students and shows what it’s really like to be a part of their lives. After reading her book you may not want to quit your day job and become an adjunct professor, but you will understand why her students admire and respect her.
—Robert W. Kenefick, Ph.D., FACSM (Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine)
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