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Late Spring To-Do List

  • Read scholarly book #1
  • Read scholarly book #2
  • Catch up on professional journals
  • Administer evaluations
  • Grade seminar research papers
  • Write two final exams
  • Grade final exams
  • Compute final grades
  • Order books for fall
  • Find apartment in New City
  • Attend INRU Commencement!

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Monday, August 29, 2005

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It's after nine p.m., and I'm just home from my first day teaching at Big Urban. God, I'm tired. But herewith my scattered thoughts on the day, organized under these helpful headings:

The Good

  • All three classes went pretty well. I feel happy with my self-presentation, my introduction of the material and its Big Themes, and the general energy level in the classrooms. The students were fairly responsive, and even when their comments were a little thin or off-base, I think I succeeded in shaping them so that they added up to something larger. Somehow I always forget that I do know this material quite well, and I'm irrationally afraid that I'll be left at a loss for words or unable to think of what to do with a given comment, and the class will come to a screeching halt. Well, not so. (The bigger problem, actually, may be keeping myself from going off on tangents about, oh, I don't know--the Jews being expelled from England and let back in by Cromwell to facilitate the Second Coming.)
  • The students in my survey sections are better-prepared than I had expected, being almost entirely juniors and seniors. The fact that they've put this survey off until the bitter end is problematic in some ways, but it at least means that they're comfortable talking about literature and that they have a certain knowledge base.
  • For the most part, all my students seem awesome--interesting and quirky and much more diverse in every way than INRU students. Most of them work, some of them full-time, and yet they're still in bands or writing novels or rebuilding cars all the while being in school full-time. Really unlike the people I knew in college or the kids I've taught up until this point, and yet still typical college kids dressing in Abercrombie and listening to Jay-Z and all the rest.
  • I met the DUS, finally, and had a great chat; he pretty much said that I could teach one of the courses on Super Huge Famous Author next term if I wanted to (v. important from the job-market perspective), but also encouraged me to design an upper-division class of my own if I had any ideas for one. Duuuude!
  • Met my union rep when he came knocking on my office door. After some chit-chat he started going into his big pitch about the benefits involved and how there's really no faculty tension over the issue since even the chair of the department is a member and blah blah--at which point I cut him off and was all, "where do I sign?" Yeah, it's $200 over the course of the year in dues, but as far as I'm concerned the union is responsible for my having an unusually good salary and benefits, and I'm happy to reimburse them for having fought the good fight in the years before I got there.
  • Oh, and I looked pretty foxy today, if I do say so myself.

The Bad

  • I STILL DON'T HAVE MY ID! Human Resources doesn't know I exist, despite my filling out tons of paperwork last week (not to mention that I'm in the online course database and that I have an office and an email address). They now need a copy of my job offer as proof. After which it will still take two days to process. Grr.
  • I got the run-around from Media Services again, and may in fact not have equipment on Wednesday, either, despite the fact that the MS office is right next door to my classroom and is full of idle TV/VCR trucks.
  • The goddamn bookstore only ordered 35 copies of the Norton Anthology for my two sections of 35 students, even though I sent in the order form in May; I don't think they ordered any copies for the third section, taught by another professor, so some 100 students are fighting over those 35 copies. The departmental secretary put in a rush order to correct this, a week ago. And the books are still not in.
  • How am I ever going to learn 80 names??

The Ugly

  • Getting up at 5.30 in order to get to campus early enough to run all my stupid errands.
  • Getting caught in a torrential downpour after my last class. I hung out in the lobby of the building for a while, figuring it would pass, and when it started to let up after about 20 minutes I ran out--just as it started pouring again. I ducked under the raised metal awning of a lunch wagon, hung out there with a few other souls for about 10 additional minutes, and ran out again when it started to let up again. Still got pretty thoroughly wet, soaked my shoes right through, and had a gross, long, crowded train ride home. I didn't look nearly so foxy at 6 p.m. as I did at noon.


And now: and now I'm going to go do all my reading for Wednesday, before I go to bed, so I can spend all of tomorrow working on my dissertation.

Provided I don't fall asleep first.

link | posted by La Lecturess at 10:28 PM |


Blogger shrinkykitten commented at 12:15 AM~  

Okay, you teach 3 classes in one day, and you are still functioning? I collapse after teaching one class. I have no teaching stamina, I'm a wimp.

Re: learning names ... two ideas: 1) take polaroids of them (indivually in or small groups) and write their names on them or; 2) I have my students take a 5x9 card (that I provide) and put a picture of themselves (photocopy ok as long as it's clear) and write interesting stuff about themselves all over it. I created a sample that is nicely decorated, so that encourages students to get creative (one student did a collage). I can then keep them forever (nice if they ask for letters of rec later), which I do.

Blogger What Now? commented at 8:52 PM~  

Congrats on a good first day! Well, a good day of teaching, even if you got caught in the rain.

So how long is this commute of yours? That sounds like a tough schedule, commuting and teaching three classes. But at least you get the day off in between to be at home and work on your dissertation--how relaxing!

Anonymous Anonymous commented at 9:22 PM~  

congrats on your first day at school! You may or may not see it this way, but it sounds very positive overall.

Blogger La Lecturess commented at 12:25 AM~  

Thanks all!

WN, my commute is, depending on which transportation method I take, a little under 2 hours each way. The train ride in the morning is actually extremely productive--good class prep time!--but it remains to be seen how useful the return is.

I commuted about the same distance last year, to INRU, but was only teaching one class & thus wasn't as wiped out at the end of the day; I usually managed to use the return trip to start the reading for the next class, or to revise dissertation stuff. Yesterday, however, I just stared vacantly out the window for most of the trip.

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