Week 1 Teaching: Exhausted

Standard

 I am so touched by the response from you all. I really and truly am. I think I’m safe over here, too. I was worried about google searches under my former name that might lead to the blogs that posted my whereabouts, but it turns out I think I’m okay. Thank you bloggy friends!!

School has officially been in session for a week now. I still don’t know about the freshman comp class, as it is often difficult to tell with freshman, although the sense that I get from this freshman class and from what I’ve heard from the woman who runs the student activities/residence life coordinator on campus is that they are brazen and "ballsy."  Like whistling at her during meetings with students. Yeah. I gave her an honorary doctorate and she is now Dr. Hot Pants. I told her she should ask for a raise with her now new degree. Last year’s freshman seemed scared and fluffy and squishy. Many of the students in this freshman class seem aloof and holier than thou. However, we all know how good I am at reading people, so I could be totally wrong. I wish I could bring the Divine Miss T to school so she could tell me who the troublemakers will be. She’s a much better judge than I. We’ll see what happens though with them.

My majors, after two classes, seem like a lot of fun. I’m sure they feel at ease around me because I have done nothing but screw up since day one. In the "learn how to use theory" class, on the first day I was trying to stress the importance of proofreading and how not doing so would affect their essay grades. What I meant to say was "don’t just like put commas randomly throughout your essay." What I actually said was, "don’t just like put condoms all over your essay." I just kept saying, "no, no, it was because of "comma" and "random"! I ran them together! random comma! random comma!" Yes, that got a hearty laugh out of everyone, and they all relaxed. Then yesterday, dear lord. You know, the problem is that when the atmosphere turns friendly, I let my guard down and don’t think. I am aware of this, and I know I need to keep working on it because it’s these moments that come back to bite me when the students decide they hate me. So, the text had a photo of Hemingway and Castro and a bunch of questions under it as a way to try to illustrate "theory" and "context" and audience assumptions. Most people said their first thought was that they looked like old friends. The author posed the question, "are they about to kiss and are laughing because their hats are in the way?" So I said, "I think it says a lot about you guys that your first response is that they were friends. I think it says that you are probably friendly yourselves and that you value the idea of friendship. Once the author mentions that they look like they are about to kiss, I totally (though knowing it’s not true) bought into that. I could totally see them about ready to just start kissing. Bow chicka bowm bowm" (I can’t ever write out that sound). Jesuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuus. Why don’t I think? In any case, it got another laugh because I immediately said that that was totally wrong, and let’s see if I can manage to stay employed through the week. Seriously. I know better. There’s someone in that room who’s going to be offended by that, or use it against me as soon as s/he ends up with a C or lower on the first essay. I know what the problem is, too, in that class. I’m extremely uncomfortable in that class room. The desks are split down the middle. All the chairs that the students don’t sit in are broken, so I have a broken chair. I can either sit at this long ass desk that’s in the middle of the room or I can stand at the podium, which I hate, even when I do lecture. My lack of comfort level causes my brain to shut down. I need to overcome this or I will end up in trouble. I can’t believe I did that. I haven’t stopped beating myself up over that one. When I get into a groove to overcome the uncomfortableness, sometimes I forget where I am/who exactly I’m talking to, and then things like that happen. Argh. Seriously. Why not end up with a sexual harassment suit?

In the literature class yesterday, well, I’m in a room with a smartboard. Never been in one of them before. I guess there’s like a special board for stuff. Whatever. I didn’t know there was a difference between the smartboard and the white boards. I wrote on the smartboard. The students gasped. I gasped and freaked out. I started to use the eraser and it sorta worked, and I thought maybe with some water it might come off, so I said, "well, I’ll just spit on it after you guys leave." Complete spontaneous laughter. I really didn’t think that was funny. So I said, "well, I mean c’mon. My authority in this class would be totally undermined if I just hocked a loog (sp?) on the board in front of you." More laughter. In any case, this class is now relaxed. Fortunately, a girl had a wet wipe which got the marker off the board. I’m sure I probably ruined it. Really, so now I’m pretty sure I have gone from "scary horrible professor" to "absent-minded/goofy professor." People will now take my classes because I’m cute and fun and talk about essay condoms, make 70s porn music references, and spit on smartboards. That’s it. I’ll be known as "the smartboard spitter." 

So far though, while I always want my classes to be discussion-y, I spent about 2 hours and 50 minutes yesterday listening to the sound of my own voice. 2 hours and 50 minutes of "here’s what’s going on in the text" and "here’s what you need to know. Then I was on the phone with my aunt for another 2.5 hours. I’m dehydrated from all the talking yesterday. I have a headache. I’m exhausted. I really wanted to sleep in this morning, but I have to meet with my trainer. I haven’t worked out since Friday anyway. But I’m really friggin tired. And I have class today then a department meeting. Tomorrow is another long day. Then Thursday I have class, a meeting, then I’ve been asked to attend the new faculty orientation thing, so that’s a 7-8 hour day on campus. Yuck. At least I’m off on Friday, but still. Yuck. I’m beat, man, totally beat.

Advertisements

20 responses »

  1. Oh, this is much easier to read! I’m trying to figure out this LJ stuff; are you keeping out of the whole RSS thing or am I just not seeing the right button?
    Don’t fret so much about early term ‘lecturing’ – it’s all just part & parcel of learning tricks. I love the condoms thing though – that’s a real hoot! What you might do for yourself is get a mini timer, and every 7-10 minutes force yourself to stop. Give yourself and the students a break by getting them involved. Instead of telling them what they need to know, ask them! I know you’re not an inexperienced teacher, but we can and do all learn from others. You’ve got them comfortable, use that!
    Belle

    • hump, I’m not sure about the rss thing. I’ll play around with it more on Thursday (I don’t think I’m going to have time tomorrow).
      That’s a good idea about the timer. It would give them a chance to absorb stuff in smaller batches and it will help me check to make sure they really are getting it and not telling me they are. Thanks!

    • hump, I’m not sure about the rss thing. I’ll play around with it more on Thursday (I don’t think I’m going to have time tomorrow).

      That’s a good idea about the timer. It would give them a chance to absorb stuff in smaller batches and it will help me check to make sure they really are getting it and not telling me they are. Thanks!

    • hump, I’m not sure about the rss thing. I’ll play around with it more on Thursday (I don’t think I’m going to have time tomorrow).

      That’s a good idea about the timer. It would give them a chance to absorb stuff in smaller batches and it will help me check to make sure they really are getting it and not telling me they are. Thanks!

    • hump, I’m not sure about the rss thing. I’ll play around with it more on Thursday (I don’t think I’m going to have time tomorrow).

      That’s a good idea about the timer. It would give them a chance to absorb stuff in smaller batches and it will help me check to make sure they really are getting it and not telling me they are. Thanks!

  2. Oh, this is much easier to read! I’m trying to figure out this LJ stuff; are you keeping out of the whole RSS thing or am I just not seeing the right button?

    Don’t fret so much about early term ‘lecturing’ – it’s all just part & parcel of learning tricks. I love the condoms thing though – that’s a real hoot! What you might do for yourself is get a mini timer, and every 7-10 minutes force yourself to stop. Give yourself and the students a break by getting them involved. Instead of telling them what they need to know, ask them! I know you’re not an inexperienced teacher, but we can and do all learn from others. You’ve got them comfortable, use that!

    Belle

  3. Oh, this is much easier to read! I’m trying to figure out this LJ stuff; are you keeping out of the whole RSS thing or am I just not seeing the right button?

    Don’t fret so much about early term ‘lecturing’ – it’s all just part & parcel of learning tricks. I love the condoms thing though – that’s a real hoot! What you might do for yourself is get a mini timer, and every 7-10 minutes force yourself to stop. Give yourself and the students a break by getting them involved. Instead of telling them what they need to know, ask them! I know you’re not an inexperienced teacher, but we can and do all learn from others. You’ve got them comfortable, use that!

    Belle

  4. Oh, this is much easier to read! I’m trying to figure out this LJ stuff; are you keeping out of the whole RSS thing or am I just not seeing the right button?

    Don’t fret so much about early term ‘lecturing’ – it’s all just part & parcel of learning tricks. I love the condoms thing though – that’s a real hoot! What you might do for yourself is get a mini timer, and every 7-10 minutes force yourself to stop. Give yourself and the students a break by getting them involved. Instead of telling them what they need to know, ask them! I know you’re not an inexperienced teacher, but we can and do all learn from others. You’ve got them comfortable, use that!

    Belle

  5. I can’t believe you beat the “vibrator in the pocket” incident. Honestly, I think it is a strength of yours and that you should keep your intrinsic humor and wit at full force. I’m not sure how to combine or deploy that respectability and authority, although in my mind these are not mutually exclusive. But as you point out . . . some students will exploit a situation. The only thing I have as a teacher is my personality. People can tell I’m very earnest and very intensely interested in them and trustful of them, so students have and probably will continue to take advantage of that, with their ridiculous faux migraines and dead relatives. However, until I get out of this profession (soon, soon), I have to believe that for whatever its worth, my natural being (earnest, trustful, intense) will and does deliver the message of the literature in a fairly successful manner. I can’t but think that your Betty Davis, wisecracking wit and charm wins many otherwise apathetic, disaffected students over. Keep it real.

  6. I can’t believe you beat the “vibrator in the pocket” incident. Honestly, I think it is a strength of yours and that you should keep your intrinsic humor and wit at full force. I’m not sure how to combine or deploy that respectability and authority, although in my mind these are not mutually exclusive. But as you point out . . . some students will exploit a situation. The only thing I have as a teacher is my personality. People can tell I’m very earnest and very intensely interested in them and trustful of them, so students have and probably will continue to take advantage of that, with their ridiculous faux migraines and dead relatives. However, until I get out of this profession (soon, soon), I have to believe that for whatever its worth, my natural being (earnest, trustful, intense) will and does deliver the message of the literature in a fairly successful manner. I can’t but think that your Betty Davis, wisecracking wit and charm wins many otherwise apathetic, disaffected students over. Keep it real.

  7. I can’t believe you beat the “vibrator in the pocket” incident. Honestly, I think it is a strength of yours and that you should keep your intrinsic humor and wit at full force. I’m not sure how to combine or deploy that respectability and authority, although in my mind these are not mutually exclusive. But as you point out . . . some students will exploit a situation. The only thing I have as a teacher is my personality. People can tell I’m very earnest and very intensely interested in them and trustful of them, so students have and probably will continue to take advantage of that, with their ridiculous faux migraines and dead relatives. However, until I get out of this profession (soon, soon), I have to believe that for whatever its worth, my natural being (earnest, trustful, intense) will and does deliver the message of the literature in a fairly successful manner. I can’t but think that your Betty Davis, wisecracking wit and charm wins many otherwise apathetic, disaffected students over. Keep it real.

  8. I can’t believe you beat the “vibrator in the pocket” incident. Honestly, I think it is a strength of yours and that you should keep your intrinsic humor and wit at full force. I’m not sure how to combine or deploy that respectability and authority, although in my mind these are not mutually exclusive. But as you point out . . . some students will exploit a situation. The only thing I have as a teacher is my personality. People can tell I’m very earnest and very intensely interested in them and trustful of them, so students have and probably will continue to take advantage of that, with their ridiculous faux migraines and dead relatives. However, until I get out of this profession (soon, soon), I have to believe that for whatever its worth, my natural being (earnest, trustful, intense) will and does deliver the message of the literature in a fairly successful manner. I can’t but think that your Betty Davis, wisecracking wit and charm wins many otherwise apathetic, disaffected students over. Keep it real.

  9. Ooh, I really like the purple skulls!
    I wonder if I will have the same problems with being too, uh, profane and irreverent about religion, which is my big problem. I’ve already made a bunch of anti-Catholic jokes (’cause I love the word “popery!”) and mocked the Puritans via Blackadder. This will probably come back to bite me in the ass, but … at least I’m having fun?
    I think you should try to keep that as a mantra to get through the teaching. Keep it fun, but keep it safe. Mmm. Yes, that could be the motto for a lot of things. 😉

    • perhaps if I’m keeping it fun and keeping it safe, essay condoms are oddly appropriate. 🙂
      And it’s impossible not to have fun with something like “popery.” You could do “popery potpourri”!

    • perhaps if I’m keeping it fun and keeping it safe, essay condoms are oddly appropriate. 🙂

      And it’s impossible not to have fun with something like “popery.” You could do “popery potpourri”!

    • perhaps if I’m keeping it fun and keeping it safe, essay condoms are oddly appropriate. 🙂

      And it’s impossible not to have fun with something like “popery.” You could do “popery potpourri”!

    • perhaps if I’m keeping it fun and keeping it safe, essay condoms are oddly appropriate. 🙂

      And it’s impossible not to have fun with something like “popery.” You could do “popery potpourri”!

  10. Ooh, I really like the purple skulls!

    I wonder if I will have the same problems with being too, uh, profane and irreverent about religion, which is my big problem. I’ve already made a bunch of anti-Catholic jokes (’cause I love the word “popery!”) and mocked the Puritans via Blackadder. This will probably come back to bite me in the ass, but … at least I’m having fun?

    I think you should try to keep that as a mantra to get through the teaching. Keep it fun, but keep it safe. Mmm. Yes, that could be the motto for a lot of things. 😉

  11. Ooh, I really like the purple skulls!

    I wonder if I will have the same problems with being too, uh, profane and irreverent about religion, which is my big problem. I’ve already made a bunch of anti-Catholic jokes (’cause I love the word “popery!”) and mocked the Puritans via Blackadder. This will probably come back to bite me in the ass, but … at least I’m having fun?

    I think you should try to keep that as a mantra to get through the teaching. Keep it fun, but keep it safe. Mmm. Yes, that could be the motto for a lot of things. 😉

  12. Ooh, I really like the purple skulls!

    I wonder if I will have the same problems with being too, uh, profane and irreverent about religion, which is my big problem. I’ve already made a bunch of anti-Catholic jokes (’cause I love the word “popery!”) and mocked the Puritans via Blackadder. This will probably come back to bite me in the ass, but … at least I’m having fun?

    I think you should try to keep that as a mantra to get through the teaching. Keep it fun, but keep it safe. Mmm. Yes, that could be the motto for a lot of things. 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s