Thursday, January 28, 2010

Settling Back In as Professor

We're a few weeks into the semester, now, and I'm settling in much more readily this time.

Have I ever mentioned how much I HATE the first day of a new job? It's not the actual work that's the problem; no one gets anything done on the first day. It's all of the other bits that you don't know about—the fabric that makes up the background of your days at work. Where's the coffee maker? Where's the bathroom? Which toilet never flushes, and needs the handle jiggled? Who do you avoid? Who is fighting with whom? Is it de rigueur to outfit yourself bounteously from the office supply cabinet, or should I only take one pen and a pad of paper?

I hate not knowing all that stuff. All the little stuff that adds up to a lot of questions and feeling stupid. Everything that isn't technically part of your job, but creates your total job environment.

Every day last semester still felt a little like the first day of a new job.

There's so many different requirements for different times of the semester. There's the literal first day of class. Then there's the first time you have to make copies. The first time you ask for a room change. The first time you are required to post progress reports online. So many tasks that are spread throughout the semester, in drips and drabs, so you know that another unknown is always just around the corner. It makes me twitchy.

Or, I should say, made me twitchy. This semester will be different! Don't get me wrong—there's still plenty of unknowns. I'm teaching two classes I've never taught before. Plus the new students always make it interesting, I'm sure, no matter how long you've been teaching. I am using Blackboard for the first time. I still don't know who all is fighting with whom, or much at all about campus politics.

But I do know how to make copies. And submit grades online. And that I have survived one semester intact, so surely I can make it through another one. Right?

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