Monday, August 27, 2007

First day of classes...

An acceptable first day. Not a brilliant first day. I probably shouldn't have decided to spend the last half-hour before class reading research about student evaluations, because damn, that stuff makes you feel like there's a lot riding on the first day. It also makes you feel totally inadequate if you're a not-very-expressive introvert who has difficulty pulling off comedy or dynamism in front of a crowd of strangers.

Right, so trying not to think about research on student evaluations, or about the thread on the Chronicle forums last week where there was a general consensus that letting class out early on the first day is Bad, Bad, Bad. Trying, also, not to think about the fact that I'm a VAP in a department that will be running a tenure-track search this year, and so this is in effect a six- or seven-month-long interview. Or about the fact that I totally forgot to tell the Brit Lit class to read the introduction to Beowulf in the Norton anthology and not just the text itself. Oh, and I lent my anthology to a student whose financial aid didn't come through in time for her to buy books, and I fear I may never see it again. Eeep.

It will get better. It will get a great deal better as early as Wednesday, when people will have actually read the texts and we can talk about them. Still, I would like for just once in my life to have a first day that isn't dead awkward and doesn't make me feel like an impostor (though I have no rational reason to believe that the students will think I am an impostor, and I need to remember that).

In other news: I dislike whiteboards. I've bought my own markers because the ones at school barely write, but really, what's the matter with good old-fashioned chalk?

4 comments:

roaringgrrl said...

Chalk dust under your fingernails, ewww. I like white boards better.

Glad you had a good first day. Breathe and remember that if you take care of the present, the future will take care of itself.

roaringgrrl

P.S. I should take my own advice. Distracted by looking for books next semesters' classes, I left my freshly copied syllabi in my office and had to hot foot it back before the beginning of class. Yeesh.

Fretful Porpentine said...

At least with chalk, you can be reasonably sure you're not releasing any horrible pollutants into the atmosphere. I do not trust the smell of whiteboard markers.

And thanks for the words of wisdom.

Sisyphus said...

Good luck! And remember, even if you're teaching a class you have no expertise in, you know way more than they do.

Fretful Porpentine said...

True. I wonder if I can successfully make myself over as an expert on Beowulf AND Greek tragedy before Wednesday...