Good morning to all. What a nice day! The summer is winding down and I am not-so-diligently working on my classes for the fall. The first class is on Wednesday morning...a four hour marathon with my non-English speaking students. This will make or break me. Before I go into this class, I carb up, add sugar, and lots of caffeine trickle like an intravenous IV into the system. I need it to begin and end the class. Does it hurt? Hmmmm....sometimes....it hurts when I am talking to myself for four hours. It's like being at home with the kids who tuned out years ago.
With budget cuts, we do not have stools/chairs for the instructors in the classroom, therefore I would have to stand for 4+ hours. Last year, I bought my own stool at Target and and wrote my name all over it. Then I hid it in one of our labs so that it is not "borrowed". Selfish? Uh...maybe....I guess....but come on....4 hours? TORTURE!
We begin meetings tomorrow too. These meetings lead to more meetings which lead to more work with my name spelled out in blocked letters on the top. I am always happy to help and be a team player, yet there are times when I want to put an end to all non-essential meetings since they too are TORTURE!
What else is TORTURE? Well, the drive to and from campus is 30 minutes in length without traffic, but since Wednesday's class is at 9 am, I leave at 7 am to avoid the back ups. That is TORTURE too! After all, I need some extra time to grad a Starbucks Grande Pike before class.
You know what else is TORTURE? Well, how about students who ask the same question in 5 different ways? I loathe the question: "Will this be on the test?" Let's consider this question....I am teaching a four hour class, I have Powerpoint slides, hand outs, videos, posters, and so on. I worked on 4 different ways of explaining a concept. After 90 minutes, there is always one genius who is ready to check out. Then the famous question comes.....I want to shout from the highest mountain: "Would I be wasting the last 90 minutes if this material was not important? Are you here solely to take a test and not learn anything???" Whew! Glad to get that off the chest. Realistically, I was the student who sat there and also wondered whether the content was relevant to me passing the course. I just never had the nerve to ask the question.
More TORTURE....finding clothes each season that fit the waist line....wearing heels in class....watching students sneak the cell phones for texting....watching students order shoes from Zappos during class discussions....seeing them update their Facebooks with messages like "I'm in hell...." "Rescue me!" ...."SOS"...."Professor's make up is on one side of her face...." One student raised the hand and left class two hours early one evening, then told me that he/she was going to watch Monday night football at a local bar rather than staying for the entire class. "I just wanted to be honest" was the reply. OK...this is a new era in campus life.
The last bit of TORTURE occurs when I do not answer their emails within an hour. They get a bit 'fussy.' I believe that they think that all I do is sit at my desk waiting for them to contact me. Whereas I am totally dedicated to what I do for a living and am passionate about the students, I do take a break once in a while and get a hall pass to go to the lavatory!
And that's it...this is why work at times can be TORTURE!
However, it can also be:
I do believe that what I do makes a difference in their lives one way or another. They learn to be prompt, since I start on time and end on time. They learn to submit their assignments on time and work hard on them. I once had the nerve to send a paper back to a student and wrote in the margins: "Were you drinking when you typed this paper? I expected more from you." Harsh? Maybe, but I submit that I am there to set a high standard and therefore have to abide by it. One way or another, this teaching thing is something that I enjoy. It changes every year with new faces and attitudes. I have to adjust for each class and therefore it is challenging and not TORTURE.
With that off my chest, it is time to finish preparations.....