Jk…Jk…It’s only day two tomorrow. Only 15 weeks to go…
Teaching is a odd sort of activity. It’s not that it’s all difficult-it is, but it’s not simply that which makes it odd. It’s not just that is time consuming-it is that, but there is also so much more that makes it odd.
No one taught, trained, gave me the “experience” needed to be a college instructor, well, at least not directly. My 3 week long “Teaching College..” course really did so much for my confidence, my abilities, my expertise, in such a short THREE WEEKS. In all truth, it did none of those things. The class was a joke. I did meet nice people, who shared in my disdain of the joke we were forced to live for three long weeks, but other than that, it’s didn’t teach me how to teach college…in fact, it didn’t teach me much of anything at all.
So you go into it with a blind “how the fuck is this going to work” attitude. You bring dry erase markers to classrooms with smart boards you were not trained to use and can’t taint with markers. You try to demonstrate to the students how to utilize the digital components of the course, but batteries for the projector remote are rotted into the remote, so no projector for you. By this point, you’re sweating like a nun in a whore house…confused, frustrated, annoyed, you just start to ramble. I am just dragging “you” into this-in part because only I read this-and for the fun of letting you DEAR READER (read: me), know what it feels like to do what I do. I ramble. At least the first day. You ramble. These are the books. You hold up the syllabus to demonstrate where the required texts section is, since you can’t project it out for them to see….You then try to remember which point to hit next, because it’s simply not logical to follow the logical order, the comprehensive order arranged in a syllabus you fussed over for a month. You look out, making sure these 50 wandering eyes are on the same page, and you notice, them. They’re here again.
There is always that one student. No matter how witty, engaging, charming, strict, educated, enlightened, whimsical you are…there they sit…staring in disdain of ever word you say, waiting with harsh breath until that clock tick-tocks to “escape!” time…You always causually look behind you to make sure a prankster didn’t draw a dozen penises on the wall behind you-nope…it’s you. That or they are sucking on the sourest thing ever created…or defecating through pantaloons onto University property. Maybe all at once. And that look…that look is so distracting. So you pause, loose your place, and ramble on…”Pencils are better than pens because you can erase”…why the hell did you say that? Moving promptly on…
It’s only ever one student who occupies that role. Some 70% are indifferent to be there; so they twitch, fiddle, look and relook at the syllabus simply because it’s there. 16% don’t know where they are anyway. It’s a Liberal Arts college, with a itty bitty boozy reputation. They register, show up sometimes, do what the have to, and move along if they’re able. but roughly 13% wants to be there. Not because it’s their area of study, or even because they like the topic. This precious 13% seems to get what I am doing, seems to understand that it is okay to laugh when your instructor say’s something so funny, comedy central would take it and write a RomCom script about it. These students look at me, and I look to them. They acknowledge me with small head tilts, sheepish smiles, and sometimes if I am lucky, an actual verbalized response.
Teaching is odd. You never know what to do to “get it right” so you can simply keep keepin’ on. I am very dedicated to what I do; not because it’s a job, but because I promised myself as an educator, I would impact lives in the way education, and some educators, impacted my life. Awkward at first, we eventually gel into a more stabilized group. You still ramble. I still loose track of my thoughts. The damn board still can’t be written on, and when the fuck is IT going to replace this remote…but it all, oddly enough, falls away, and the tasks at hand take center stage. The curtain moves aside…it knows, learning is about to happen here. Shhhhhhhh.