A year ago I was able to fulfill my lifelong dream — touting my expertise to the masses by teaching a college course. I think it went pretty well, and although it left me with little time to breathe (having also started a new full-time job shortly before) I decided to repeat it this year.
So as the air turned crisp with my favorite time of year, I returned from vacation to cart myself and my knowledge to the first class of the new semester. My syllabus was clear and pretty, my course plans improved over last year — in short, I was ready to kick it college-style. Since I want to be one of the “cool professors” that students remember long after their college days are over, I of course planned the perfect beginning class – witty introductions and “get-to-know-you” activities, an exciting review of what lies in store for the students (which they will no doubt refer to from this point forward as “the best class I have this year”), and finally a film that explores the major course themes in an easily digestible manner.
Simple. Brilliant. “Adjunct of the Year” material…
…until I got to campus early, only to realize that my classroom was occupied by another course until 15 minutes before mine was supposed to start. I then discovered that the DVD of said movie was shipped to me from Netflix broken in two. My anxiety rising, I went on-line to see if I could stream it, only to discover the answer was “No, idiot — that’s what you get for waiting until the last minute to take the DVD out of the sleeve.” The room begins to fill with students.
Be cool, I thought to myself. Best not to scare them off by bursting into tears or throwing the DVD out the window.
I calmly opened my computer files and pulled out the first lecture presentation that was originally slated for week 2 – and immediately noted two problems:
1. The presentation needs to be updated from last year, and I haven’t done it yet.
2. The “Smart Cart”, containing all of the electronic bells and whistles needed to engage in any kind of multi-media tomfoolery, is locked — and I do not have access to a key. So even if the presentation was ready for prime-time, everyone would have to gather around my laptop to see it.
Through the wonders of counting I noted that there are as many students in the room as I was told had registered, and it came time to start. Feeling my face redden with frustration at a perfectly planned moment disintegrating before me, I decided to forego my goal to wow with my grasp of the concepts, and shift instead to the one thing that is guaranteed to make students rank you as a “10” on the course evaluation: course overview followed by the gift of early dismissal.
Better luck in week 2.
Note: If there are any of my students reading this — congratulations on finding my cyber-life. While I’m pleased with your prowess, reading my blog will not be accepted as extra credit. See page 3 of your syllabus for the course grading system.