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Sometimes Teaching can be Very Surreal

There's a line in Margaret Atwood somewhere, I think in The Robber Bride, where a university instructor says "students are like sniffer dogs; they hunt you down, and find you whereever you are hiding" or something to that effect. That happened to me today, and more.

I was having a printer crisis. Trying to get an overhead transparency copied and some handouts, and the copier in the department was having the vapours. And it seemed that every time I turned around, or every five minutes, someone came to my office asking to be let in to one course or another. So then I went to the library to do some copying and from there over to what I thought was my classroom.

I have one of those nasty split schedules, where I have a class in one classroom on one day and another one on another. Except I have two of them: one in the afternoon and one in the morning. And guess what. I went to the afternoon classroom in the morning. So I realized that I was in the wrong classroom and it was too late to go back to my office to find out where I was supposed to be, but also that I had absolutely no idea where I was supposed to be. There is, however, a big bulletin board listing of all the courses and rooms in one building which was somewhere in the neighbourhood of where I thought my real classroom was. So I headed over there.

When I was about 2/3 of the way there, yet another student approached me. In retrospect, I have NO idea how he knew who I was. Anyway, he said "I am interested in getting into your course." Aha, I thought. Maybe he knows where I'm supposed to be! So I said - do you want my English 160 section blah blah blah, because I'm late for it, but I'm heading there now. No, he said, I want your online course. *shit* I thought. So I said, well, I'm sorry, but I'm late for another class and I can't talk to you right now, come to my office at 1:00 when I'll be free. ...
well... he says. ... can you tell me ... I've been trying to get into ... blah blah blah... *FUCK OFF* (I think) and "I'm sorry. I CAN'T TALK TO YOU RIGHT NOW" (*fuck off*) and I sped off into the distance feeling peculiarly guilty and stressed and leaving the poor student forlornly holding his "permission to register" form.

Anyway. I made my class only about 5 minutes late. And some of my students came in AFTER me, having also gone to the wrong classroom, ha ha ha. And after all that it was actually a good class.



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 12th, 2007 10:24 pm (UTC)
Oh - that comment wasn't aimed at you! You were perfectly polite, and at least I had _room_ in that course. It's these ones who come on spec when it's obvious from Camlink that the course is full, and they all have these long stories. Or like that one who wants to tell me his long story when I'm obviously on my way somewhere. Oh yes, I'm just going to stop right here in the middle of campus and know off the top of my head that I have space in my class and not have a long list of other people all of whom all have equally compelling reasons why they MUST get into my class!
Jan. 12th, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
Nasty schedules?
Just have to ask about your nasty schedule. Are all your classes usually in the same room?

This coming semester I'm scheduled to have two classes on the same day on two different campuses that are one hour drive apart.

I'm sometimes amazed at the different assumptions about different education systems.
Jan. 12th, 2007 10:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Nasty schedules?
No, no, all our classes are not in the same room. Just usually if you have, say English 150 section 3 on Tuesdays and Thursdays you might like to have it in the same room? But because of scheduling problems we are having English 150 section 3 in Young 205 on Tuesday and Ewing 315 on Thursdays. And I have two of those. Hence the confusion. But I, too, have had classes on two different campuses on the same day, though they do try not to do that too often. And we have a contractual rule that says you can't have an evening class followed by an 8:30 class the next morning, but I know people who have had that schedule. I've had that schedule, I think.
Jan. 12th, 2007 11:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Nasty schedules?
Hmm, maybe I just watch too much TV.

I'm sure our timetabling people use the random allocation method. Originally, they had the two classes I teach with an hour overlap. *shakes head in disbelief*

Our workload model changes all the time, in fact, sometimes I think it changes daily.
Jan. 13th, 2007 12:59 am (UTC)
Re: Nasty schedules?
Well, if you watch US tv, you'd think that college professors all taught in beautiful classrooms with fine art on the wall and microphones at the front, and had offices the size of my living room overlooking a lake with swans...
I'd be happy if I had a classroom with a window and chalk for my blackboard, let alone a microphone (or a computer plus dataprojector that worked). It's not always that bad, but sometimes it is.
Jan. 12th, 2007 09:25 pm (UTC)
Students. They have a sixth sense for finding you and no sense of the opportune moment whatsoever.
Jan. 12th, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC)
I'm waiting for the Julia Roberts moment of someone passing a "permission to register" form to me under the bathroom door. (someone apparently once asked her for an autograph that way)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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