Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Year's Eve; or, Have I Really Been Doing This For a Decade?

One of these days I should really post about something substantive. But for now, to mark the eve of a new semester and the approaching ten-year anniversary of my first-ever class (holy crap, ten years of freshman comp!), here are some more bits and pieces from old journals. Grad school edition, this time.

My first day in the classroom:

I can't match any names with faces, I feel like I blathered far too much w/o saying what I really wanted to, a couple of the students seem to be tough customers, and I haven't a clue what we're doing on Friday. Just a normal day, I guess...

Oh, and of course when I asked them to pair off & introduce each other, the guy who can't pronounce his R's ended up introducing Wodewick, I mean Roderick. (Shades o' Life of Brian. Luckily this did not occur to me 'til later -- giggling helplessly would have been unseemly.)

Hee. I had forgotten about Wodewick. A week later:

Well, Monday went OK, but today -- whoo! I think I made a royal fool out of myself trying to explain how to do a cite for an ad w/ no title and a corporate author in a periodical (note to self: always get these things straight before class). Don't feel like recording the gory details. Also -- despite my best efforts class ended at 2:45 or so w/ me groping for more things to say. Yow...

... Got a new student today, a guy who plays the drums. I know this b/c he wrote "I play drums" on his index card in place of his phone number. Perhaps they're talking drums...

Teaching citation format, by the way, remains my downfall -- I never know what to say besides "Look in the freaking book, OK? That's what I do." And the flailing-to-fill-up-the-last-five-minutes feeling is still familiar, although nowadays I'll usually just dismiss them without apology.

On the other hand, I take comfort in the fact that never, in all the years since that first infamous semester, have I mistook a student for my boyfriend on the phone. Some lessons one only needs to learn once.

A few other snapshots from that first semester:

-- And let's face it, a B is average these days. I know [Freshman Shakespeare Prof] wouldn't approve, but I don't think I can crush youthful psyches with his brand of panache, not yet.

-- Must remind them that business letters do not customarily begin, "Hi, my name is R. J. Reynolds..." or "I bring you greetings."

-- Drank far too much at the reception last night (luckily most of the profs did too; I shall cherish the memory of [August Teutonic Goddess of Composition] wandering around the buffet table, stealing cheese.)

-- Got an e-mail from [a student] this morning -- a petition against the evil atheists who want "Touched by an Angel" cancelled! Sheesh. Perhaps I should cut my hair so the world can see my horns.

-- Another opening paragraph for the collection:

"'Attack and / or Armored' is a practical guide to finding you, your country, or your militia a suitable helicopter for your individuals needs. It strives to answer the question: Attack, armored, or attack and armored? A difficult question to answer in today's free world."

(Perhaps I should have been clearer on what I meant by "scholarly article.")

Needless to say, absolutely none of these things would surprise me if I encountered them nowadays. Except, perhaps, for the cheese-stealing Teutonic Goddess of Composition.


Susan said...

Please answer the question! Does the composition militia need an attack helicopter or an armored one?

Your readers want to know.

Fretful Porpentine said...

Alas, I no longer remember what the student recommended, so the question must go forever unanswered. The conclusion of the paper must not have been as memorable as the introduction.