Toni Mester

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 1974


Despite academic chauvinism in women's studies, it is possible to teach off-campus and get paid. As an hourly instructor in women's literature for the San Francisco Community College District, I have been able to help raise feminist consciousness in the community and draw a part-time professional wage. I created my job myself, although I share its economic insecurity with hundreds of other "hourlies" in local community colleges. The benefits—flexibility, autonomy, and student variety—may encourage others to seek or invent similar work.

In 1968, with an M.A. in English, teaching credentials, and not much hope of teaching in the job-tight Bay Area, I found work as a part-time secretary for the Jewish Community Center. In the spring of 1971 I was turned on by the Women's Studies Conference at Santa Cruz, but shuddered at the thought of returning to academe. Instead, I convened a literature class for Breakaway, a women's free university, and later became a member of a weekly study group at Modern Times, a neighborhood bookstore. We stayed together through the spring of 1972, when I discovered an opportunity which led to my current position, teaching two night classes a week.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.