Monday, August 25, 2008

Back to School

I'm back to school as of last week, and so far, so good. The first week or two always exhausts me so I've been sleeping a LOT. Wish I had something interesting to blog about, but mostly I'm thinking about lectures and timing and trying to remember how to arrange for AV to deliver stuff to my classroom.

I have two days of 4 1/2 straight hours of lecture; a third day of 3 hours. I'm going to have to be extremely careful of my voice this semester. (That probably means cutting back alcohol and caffeine to levels my bloodstream may find unacceptably low.)

One of the worst first-day worries is that your fly will be unzipped or you'll have something on your face or in your teeth or whatever. After a week or two I generally feel good that my students would let me know, but I'm always kind-of freaking out on the first day that my hair's all standing up in back or something and they're all morbidly staring at it instead of listening to me. I also started the semester with two giant zits and trust me, starting the first day of school as a student with a giant zit is NOTHING compared to standing in front of 35 students with a giant zit. (Although at 30 I realize that probably nobody cares about my zits but me; at 16 I suffered under the common teenaged delusion that other people had nothing better to do than worry about my pimples.)

Classroom-wise, I have one smart room and three "dumb" rooms with no computer technology -- so irritating when I go to all the trouble of creating computer-enabled curricular materials, then get stuck in a dumb room. Of my dumb rooms, one has a chalkboard and no TVs! The other (which I use twice) is whiteboard and does have TVs at least. I'm always torn on the chalkboard/whiteboard question -- chalk gets ALL OVER your clothes. Whiteboard residue just takes up residence under your fingernails and refuses to be budged. It's also somewhat more likely to end up smudged across your cheek. It being the beginning of the semester, all the whiteboard rooms have good pens, but by the end of the semester, they'll all be crap and everyone will be hoarding their secret supply. I noticed the other day that I now carry a whiteboard marker in my purse, which is a little sad.

On the exhaustion, I'm not sure that people who don't public speak regularly understand what a level of emotional energy goes into a lecture. Other professors and people who public speak regularly are horrified to hear I have a 4 1/2-hour lecture block without a break between classes; people who don't public speak for a living, when I mention I'm a little worn out from the first week, tend to respond with puzzlement, "I work 10-hour days," because my paltry 4.5 isn't adequate hours for exhaustion. Which, right, I know; it's not that that's a "long day," it's just that it's a long damned time to lecture and lecture well. I've got office hours right after my 4.5-hour block, and it's all I can do not to fall asleep as soon as I sit down in the quiet (and I'm not a daytime napper!).


Henny Penny said...

I'd like to talk to you about your career path sometime. at gmail dot com

Emily said...

I don't think that is not affecting your carrier.

femminismo said...

My high school home ec teacher (she also taught Spanish and P.E.) always lost her voice the second week into the school year. It came back though. I'm sure it's exhausting, giving everyone the same measure/dose of a great, quality, enthusiastic lecture. You made me laugh at hoarding markers and it being sad to find one in your purse! Good luck back at school. Try toothpaste on the zits.