Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hobbies for the back-to-school crowd

Classes started this week, and my students seem nice. Why is it that I'm so pathetically pleased when they smile back at me or even smile all on their own?

But classes did signal the end of my week of pursuing the following hobbies:

Exercise 1

  1. Work on a syllabus for hours at a time . . . double-digit hours at a time. Decide that this is absolutely, positively, the last revision and that it's time to print the thing and get it copied. Go to bed relieved that it's done.
  2. Upon awakening, have a brainstorm about something that absolutely, positively must go into the syllabus. Open the file and start work on it again.

Exercise 2

  1. Decide that the days you have allotted to reading a longish book are too many. Let them read more pages! Let them take responsibility for getting through the reading over the weekend! After all, you did this when you took the class back in the Pleistocene Age.
  2. Change syllabus to reflect fewer days spent on the work. Move other material to take its place.
  3. Recall student groans about excessive reading from past semesters.
  4. Restore the original number of days to the work. Repeat.

Exercise 3

  1. Discover that the new and improved--and more expensive--edition of a book you were forced to order is missing several vital pieces you had planned to use in class.
  2. Become grievously irritated. Go on Amazon.com and explain the book's deficiencies in a review.
  3. Hunt around for your old copy of the book so that the pieces can be photocopied. Curse the habits of marking up books that have left all your books unfit for photocopying.
  4. Go to the secondhand bookstore. Buy an unmarked copy.
  5. Continue to grumble under your breath as you photocopy the necessary parts.


Anonymous said...

Exercise 1: find out that you have keyboard failure in your office, so you cannot post your syllabus to WebCT.

Exercise 2: find out that due to new security measures, you cannot print from your laptop to the office, or post to WebCT from it.

Therefore you do not have a printed syllabus or a WebCT version on the first day. Show syllabus on projector in classroom, because who knows why, you have "smart" classrooms.

Discover that students cannot buy books anyway due to paycheck lags from oilfield jobs. Therefore negotiate with students about what you will really read first - deciding not by chronological order
of books, nor by ideological order, but by price, what you will read first.

Be grateful that in fact you were technologically prevented from setting in stone what you would do - the students could not have afforded it, anyway, and would have been faking.

Horace said...

Have you been in my head this past week? I mean month?

undine said...

There's a kind of weird circularity to what happened to you, cero. I'm glad that it at least worked out.

Et tu, Horace, on the syllabus obsessiveness? ?