Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Folks, you are not going to be believe what I did yesterday. I hesitated to even blog about it, because this is exactly the sort of story one does not want a future employer reading. But here we go: you know how this summer I am teaching my own course for the first time, an introductory lecture course on popular music to about sixty undergraduates? And that I have been very excited about teaching this class, and getting to pretend to be a "real" professor type, and write my own syllabus, teach my own material, and all that?

Well, yesterday I almost missed the very first day of class.

Somehow, all quarter, I have had written down in my calendar that the summer quarter begins on June 29. Thus, I had arranged to get back from England on the 26th, giving me enough time to get over jet lag and make last-minute preparations. Well, I got in from the UK at 10pm Monday night, horribly jet-lagged, and suffering from a bad cold I had picked up my last day in London. Just before I collapse in bed, I see an email from my colleague and TA extraordinaire, K--, asking if I need anything before tomorrow. I cheerfully write back, "of course not, we don't teach until Thursday!" Then I go to sleep.

At 3am, my jet-lagged body wakes up, and I check my email. There is a note from K-- which says, in effect, "okay, but you know that the registrar has us listed as starting tomorrow?" Sure enough, she's right. I am due to be teaching that morning, at 9:30 am.

Now mind you, I have completed my syllabus, and had done a fair amount of prep for my first lecture. But I now I have an extra class I didn't plan for, which means re-shuffling my whole syllabus around. And there is still quite a few loose ends and details to be cleared up for my lecture. So at about 3:30 am, I get to work. By 9:30am, I am indeed ready to go, but let me tell you, it was one of the worst lecture experiences of my life. I had slept about three hours in the last 32 hours, had a bad cold, and was not as prepared as I wanted to be. My voice kept giving out, I was feverishly sweating, I occasionally had to steady myself on the piano, and I kept losing my train of thought mid-sentence.

Somehow made it through though. It's a good learning experience, and as several people have pointed out to me, teaching conditions are rarely any more adverse than this. I just hope I can win back my class on Thursday!

This post will self-destruct as soon as I am on the job market.


Caroline said...

I seriously have nightmares about this kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

They do say intellect and commonsense are rarely found in a person!!