I am a relative newcomer to contract instructing, having moved to Ontario from Saskatchewan in 2010, for family reasons related to health care for my younger son, who is a special-needs child. We moved from Saskatchewan because we were unable to get the health care we needed for him. My wife and I had a unique position at the University of Saskatchewan. We had a job share; she was on the tenure- track in Physics, and I was the teaching sidekick. This suited me, as I came late to university level teaching, working first as a research scientist in universities and then as a scientific computer programmer in the private sector. I did not have the conventional career trajectory of an academic employed in a tenured position at a university. We
moved to Ontario without having jobs to move into, but I was fortunate to be able to find work immediately at Carleton University as a laboratory supervisor. I was then offered contract instructor positions, and moved to teaching five one-semester Introductory Physics courses during the course of the year. To put this in perspective, this is the teaching load expected of a
full-time Instructor/Lecturer position, as defined in the Carleton faculty collective agreement. It would be extremely difficult to teach more than two of these courses in parallel—the workload would then be 50-60 hours per week. With my special-needs childcare commitments, this would be impossible. Nor would it be possible for me to take on a tenure-track position. The hours of work typically required to develop, fund, and launch a research program were more than I could actually devote to it. My ambition is more modest: to obtain a full-time instructor position and be able to develop better pedagogy for the teaching
of physics at the university level.