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I currently hold a full time teaching position, and recently accepted another full time teaching position at another university. Is there any reason I can't teach for both schools since the workload is mostly online teaching? (note -- I have been teaching for multiple universities for years, just never holding two "full time" positions).

Location- US. Also, it is the norm in the US for Adjuncts to hold multiple positions at various universities, often teaching over 10 courses a term. But they are not considered full time.

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    Where are you located? This would be bad in some countries and the norm in others. Jun 28, 2022 at 4:26
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    Some people argue that this is an illegal practice that amounts to fraud. Many others disagree, and quite a few seem to be getting away with it. On the other hand, it seems reasonable to speculate that at least your employers would frown upon it (or worse) if they found out that you were doing it.
    – Dan Romik
    Jun 28, 2022 at 4:39
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    Not telling both universities is a bad idea. They are going to find out anyway, but if they find out rather than you tell them, it is easy for them to assume you acted in bad faith. So, if you are going to tell them, then you can just ask them how they feel about it (or what the local laws allow). Jun 28, 2022 at 6:29
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    where in the world?
    – EarlGrey
    Jun 28, 2022 at 9:27
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    Read your employment contract. Jun 28, 2022 at 22:11

4 Answers 4

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In the US, the expectation for a full-time teaching job is generally somewhat more than 40 hours a week, accounting for a couple hours of preparation and grading time per hour of lecture, plus some service. Unless you are working for disreputable institutions, it is probably impossible to do both jobs simultaneously to a level of quality comparable to your colleagues. Putting aside whether this is an unethical behavior toward the institutions, it seems almost certain that this is unethical behavior toward your students.

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    You also need to be sure you are not going to short-change your colleagues. What committees will you be on, and when will they meet? What is your role in programs assessment? Not all lecturer positions have these obligations, but many do. Jun 29, 2022 at 20:06
  • @TerryLoring Absolutely. That's what I was referencing with "some service", but thanks for highlighting this. Jun 29, 2022 at 21:19
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I am not sure where you are based, but in Germany (and I assume in many other countries) you have to disclose any other parallel employment in detail to the respective other employer for tax reasons. Not to disclose this second job is thus not only "frowned upon" or unethical, but illegal.

There are also laws in place how many hours you are allowed to work per week (these laws are in place to prevent people from being overworked) and having two fulltime jobs (around 8 hours/day) definitely exceeds that limit (I believe it is 48h/week) by a lot. So another reason this would be illegal.

On top, teaching does not only entail giving lectures, but preparing them, giving exams and correcting them, in some cases being a (co-)supervisor of bachelor or master theses etc. While it might be somehow possible to hold all lectures online for two full-time positions (but that only works out if there is absolutely no overlap), I highly doubt that it would be possible to satifactory fit all those other duties for two full positions into the time one person has. I believe that if either uni were to know about the fact that you took on another full time position with another employer, they would not be happy about it and seriously thinking about terminating your contract.

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    I know of one case in the US where someone was fired for doing this.
    – Buffy
    Jun 28, 2022 at 10:37
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    Additionally, as an adjunct any course materials I create while on the clock legally belong to the college. So if I took those same course materials and tried to teach them elsewhere, it would be (I believe) intellectual property theft unless I altered them significantly. Jun 28, 2022 at 13:57
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    @RobinClower That's interesting. It seems impossible to imagine someone teaching the same course at multiple campuses actually preparing dramatically different materials, though. Jun 28, 2022 at 16:51
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    @RobinClower Wow, are you sure? That sounds exploitative. Find another university.
    – David
    Jun 30, 2022 at 2:45
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    @RobinClower That does not appear to be the case in Germany. Most of my professors just switch the universities logo and maybe update their slides when switching universities
    – SirHawrk
    Jun 30, 2022 at 6:16
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Unless it's illegal, holding two full-time teaching positions isn't something bad by itself. Sure, it may be difficult to do both jobs to a satisfactory standard, but if you actually do, then what's the problem?

Some people will say it's not good for the work-life balance, but it's up to you to decide on your work-life balance, after all. And if you truly enjoy teaching, then why not to fill your life with what you enjoy?

Some will say you can't do both jobs to a satisfactory standard, but it's up to your employers to decide whether your teaching is good enough. Your teaching is good enough as long as they keep you employed.

And yes, you can do two full-time teaching jobs to a good standard. Preparation for lectures doesn't really take time if your have already taught your courses before. Likewise, grading doesn't really take time if you use automated grading systems in, e.g., Google Classroom. You say that your teaching jobs are online, so you don't need to spend your time commuting to work.

Lecturers are not hired to spend 40 hours a week. They are hired to deliver good teaching. How many hours per week they actually spend preparing for lectures and grading isn't and shouldn't be anyone's business.

If I saw someone's CV saying he or she has been holding two full-time jobs, I'd say, "Wow, you must be very smart and effective to do two full-time jobs to standards satisfactory to both employers!"

In short, don't be afraid to do what you want as long as it's legal, and be confident to explain things should people ask you questions about it.


UPDATE: To avoid a misunderstanding, the main point of my answer is that it is okay to to have two full-time teaching jobs if the quality of your teaching for each of the two jobs is good enough. But this is a very important if!

Of course, if your teaching is bad because of you having two jobs, this is not good. You will be eventually fired then, and before this happens, students will suffer. To accept two full-time teaching jobs, you must be sure you can do both jobs to standards acceptable by the employers!

My point is that having two full-time teaching jobs isn't bad per se; what matters is the quality of teaching for each of the two jobs. And if everyone is happy with your teaching, it's not their place to ask you what you do outside your job and whether you have a second job. The quality of your teaching is the ultimate criterion.

And I personally believe it is quite possible to do two full-time teaching jobs to a good standard. I am speaking from my own experience of studying at a university and making a lot of money by privately tutoring at the same time. The students whom I tutored were very happy with my tutoring and gladly paid me after each lesson. Had they been not satisfied with anything, they would have quickly found another tutor. My friends wondered how I managed to study and do so much tutoring at the same time. If you love what you are doing and exercise reasonable self-discipline, you can do much more than expected by other people!

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    I think "as long as it is legal " is too low of a standard for teaching. Jun 29, 2022 at 20:08
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    @TerryLoring I think it is up to the employer to decide what is the acceptable standard of doing the job! If the OP's employers are happy with his work and keep him employed, then I don't see what the problem is
    – Mitsuko
    Jun 29, 2022 at 20:52
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    The problem is you cannot easily replace an instructor mid-term. If there are problems one month into a semester you can't just sack the person and replace them. Teaching is not evaluated day-by-day so this problem could linger a long time. Jun 30, 2022 at 5:18
  • @TerryLoring : Of course, if the OP's teaching is bad because of him having two jobs, this is not good. He will be fired eventually then, and before this happens, students will suffer. Of course, to accept two full-time teaching jobs, the OP must be sure he can do both jobs to standards acceptable by the employers!
    – Mitsuko
    Jun 30, 2022 at 9:43
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    The point of my answer is that it is okay to have two full-time teaching jobs if the quality of your teaching for each of the two jobs is good enough. But this is a very important if, of course. I've added an update to my answer to clarify this
    – Mitsuko
    Jun 30, 2022 at 9:43
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It depends on the schools. Ten years ago, I taught at two schools full time for a year. Private universities usually requires faculty to get approval if teaching elsewhere; You could be fired if you don't comply. While public schools usually do not have the specific clause on the contract, but they do discourage teaching elsewhere.

I was able to attend all my classes (all in-person) and completed all tasks assigned to me. My urgement is that I should be able to arrange my personal time however I want and I used it for another job. I work around the clock and pretty much working more than 14 hours a day. A lot of the reports I submitted were around 2 am. Yes I know people would say, you shouldn't work such long hours, but I think it's a personal choice and I don't think how I want to live my life is what we are discussing here. Being able to keep both jobs is due to the sacrifice I make to my own time, not a cost to the additional job. And there were discussion on how you can go to classes, meetings, committees. I consider that a logistic issue, and it is also not the topic we are discussing.

I think the quality of teaching was not impacted by me teaching in two schools. The textbooks were different and students were different. We, as instructors, need to vary our teaching methods based on the students anyway. I don't see how two teaching jobs would hurt the quality of teaching. And quite frankly, I think teaching students in various background helped me be a better teacher. If the two jobs are labor intensive, I understand there is compromise in quality, but teaching is not that kind of work. In terms of benefits, I paid health insurance at one school and not the other and luckily I did not get sick for the whole year.

I got into the situation not entirely as I wished so after a year I was happy to get out of it.

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