A looooog week. First week of classes again, this time for spring quarter 2008.
I truck into the first class dragging my computer, which weighs a ton, and all my other stuff in one of those airport bags on little wheels, and I am all ready to go when I see the place where the computer should go is there alright, but it’s a big box podium that is all locked up with a computer inside it, and of course I don’t have a key that fits. I don’t see how I can get to the place to get a key and back and not lose at least ten minutes on the first day, and the room is jammed with crashers. I need to take roll as soon as possible and see if I can get the class set. So I wing it without my web page up on the screen as visual aide.
The second class is 15 minutes after the first class. It’s in another room. This time I am able to set up the computer, but I find more crashers, some people I have kicked out of the first class, and some people who have taken me for a previous class and have gone out of their way to take another class with me. I call roll and it looks like there may be some empty spots for the crashers, but I really can’t tell because people come ambling in 20 minutes late because they got lost or went to the wrong room. And I know additionally that two at least will not be there this first day because of airline screw-ups, one being stuck in that mess at Heathrow. Oh, and another has had to go in for surgery on his shoulder.
And then the second day of classes I go in the room with the computer all locked up in a box and I have a key now already to open it up. I stand there trying to stick it in this way and that but it won’t go and I start to think I am going crazy. So I rush over to the place where you get the keys and find out that sure enough, they have given me the wrong key.
And the crashers are still there. Frequently crashers just go away the second day, but these people are persistent. A couple of them are seniors, and if they don’t get this class out of the way this quarter, they will not be graduated on time or have to stick around till summer school to take it or something.
So I just give up. That’s unusual for me. So when I last checked—and I don’t know yet if this is an accurate count—I have 26 students in one class and 27 and another. Sure, that’s only 3 over my limited. But it does mean more work and when colleagues say things like, I let 28 in my class, I say don’t do that. Because you are getting paid for 25 and that’s all, and additionally, the National Organization that pays attention to such things says no writing class should have more that 20 in it.
I just gave up partly because the whole week I’ve had persistent intense anxiety because I terminated with my shrink, or she terminated with me, and when I called to say hello to her later in the week, I found out she had been in the hospital for two days over the weekend because of an irregular heartbeat. Way too fast.
I am left with the sense that this whole first week has been pretty much a mess and completely out of my control.