“Count on me to keep you posted in this space,” I wrote about teaching a couple weeks ago. Well, I haven’t really done that, so let me try to set things right.
Basically, the fact that I’ve only managed a handful of entries in the weeks following my first class should tell you most of what there is to know. I’m so much busier than I was last quarter, you’d think I just had a kid. Between my coursework and my teaching/grading, if I get back from class and play video games or surf the internet instead of getting on with my reading or lesson planning, I’m slipping behind. I’m not sure when the hell I’m going to work on my blog paper, or learn to drive, or work out, or do any of the other things I was going to do this quarter. But what am I doing complaining? I’m getting paid for this. This is my job. In-N-Out’s right across the street if I want to do something that allows more free time.
But how is my teaching going? I think it’s going okay, although the real test of that will be the 22 papers which are sitting in my bag, waiting to be read. These are the first drafts of the first paper, which we’ve been prepping for this past week and a half. Here’s a sign that I’ve gotten into teaching: last quarter, I couldn’t wait to read all the wacky things my students were going to write. I couldn’t wait to join in all the other teachers’ stories about how this student wrote about “the infamous Martin Luther King,” or how that one was astounded that Jonathan Swift advocates eating babies. I’m not looking forward to that any more. Mind you, I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with it–you have to get the tension off somehow, so I’ll probably be participating in it along with everyone else. But the prospect doesn’t make me happy; I really want all my students to do well, for their sakes and for mine.
I really don’t know what the students think of me as a teacher. Sometimes I feel like the king of HICF 100D, covering all kinds of ground, answering questions and facilitating discussion adroitly and with my inimitable brand of humor. Other times I’m just a stammering monkey in slacks. Little things throw wrenches in my lesson plans. Last Wednesday, the copier was broken when I went to make my very-last-minute copying for class, so the centerpiece of that class was ruined. I tried to wing it. By the end of class, half the chins were resting on hands and one guy was making a paper airplane. I guess I should count my blessings that he never threw it. Then Friday’s class was totally awesome, I had them eating out of my hand. I don’t know if it’s my biorhythms or what.
But all of this work and stress has one good aspect: wherever I go, I’m going somewhere important. Whenever I spend a day tackling work, I feel like a million bucks. It’s been this way since high school–when I’m juggling three or four things at once, I’m suddenly super-organized and diligent, even though my room’s still dirty. It’s like the expression says: “if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.”
But seriously, don’t ask me to do anything. I’m completely serious. I’ll fly off the goddamned handle, just don’t do it.