Monday, August 20, 2012

First Day of School Shenanigans

Well, today was the first day of fall semester.  I had everything all ready: syllabi printed out and already copied (thank goodness, because the copy machine was down this morning--you should've heard the wailing in the hallways!), rosters printed out, add codes printed out. But, I couldn't find my glasses. In searching for my glasses, I discovered that I have one pair that's scratched; another pair that dates back to the 1990s, are perfectly round, and make me look like a frightened owl; and some pretty cool prescription sunglasses. Decisions, decisions. I went with the sunglasses and presented myself to my 8:10am pre-freshman composition class as "Professor Joyce Oh-So-Cool." I could hear the strains of Santana's "Smooth" playing in the background as I unlocked the classroom door and let everybody in.

Typically what I do is give the students a hardcopy of the syllabus and then project the syllabus onscreen in front of the class using this neaty-poo system installed in the SMART classrooms. Problem was, I couldn't get the screen down. The string to pull it down hung tantalizingly a few feet over my head, and there was just no way I was going to climb on top of a chair and try to reach it. (If you think I'd do that, you don't know me too well. I am the world's most sober klutz. Just this weekend, I slid across the kitchen floor on some water that had apparently slopped over from the kitties' water bowl and slammed my right foot onto the edge of the trash compactor. I now have a bruised ankle and an injured big toe, including part of a missing toenail.) Some brave student volunteered to hop up and pull the screen down, but alas. It was merely a piece of string hanging off of the REAL string you need to pull--the end of which had been flipped up, away, way out of anyone's reach. Ha-ha. Some wag of a student must've ended his summer semester that way, pranking the next poor teacher to set foot in 16-204.

I dealt with this by just projecting the syllabus onto the white board--they could still follow along well enough, and, after all, they did have hard copy.

Now, all of this took place after I had sat briefly at my desk to take attendance. I discovered the desk wobbles. For some reason, one leg appears to be shorter than the others. This will represent a real inconvenience all semester long because I happen to be one of those twitchy persons who can't keep things still. If there's a button in sight, I have to push it to see what will happen. If my cell phone screen glows suddenly, I have to stop what I'm doing and look to see what's going on. If my desk wobbles, I am going to wobble it and then complain that this wobbling is going to drive me nuts all semester long. Wobble. Wobble.

Needless to say, after all these fiascos, I'm sure my students were feeling pretty comfortable with me, their very first college professor.  "Call me Joyce," I told them. "I'm perfectly comfortable with that. If that's too informal for you, 'Professor Luck' will do." I paused, then added, "And I'm sure you'll be calling me some other things, too, as the semester progresses, but don't say them to my face."

And so we're off to a rollicking good start.

Oh--and I came home and found my glasses. They must have fallen off the nightstand in my bedroom and were wedged between the headboard and it, behind a small, tumbled piece of sodalite. Don't ask.


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