An Optimistic Adjunct on the Economic Edge

Rob Balla teaches up to eight classes a semester on as many as four campuses in northeastern Ohio. “This is the best job I’ve had. I honestly like it,” he says. But Mr. Balla and his family live on the economic edge: “I can’t remember the last time I actually went and saw a doctor. We go to school sick, we go to school with the flu, we go to school with fevers. We go to school under any circumstances, really, ’cause you can’t afford to have your pay docked.” And yet he remains optimistic that he will land a full-time job in academe. “That’s kind of the dream. At least the realistic dream. Getting that full-time position. Hopefully things go well. Maybe this is my lucky year.”

Video and editing by Greg Kahn; Reporting by Audrey Williams June; Produced by Rose Engelland

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