Three weeks and counting. That’s right—exactly three weeks from today classes start at my community college. And just last night, I agreed to take on another section. No big deal, really. I only had one course for the fall, so the second one won’t be an overload. And the subject is exactly the same! So, I decided I had best get moving on writing my syllabus. Problem is—I don’t have the basic composition text book. That prompted me to make a quick trip to campus today. Well, things are in a state of almost readiness. First, the car in front of me has a license plate designed to deter peeping?(Just in case you can't read it, the license plate says ICUPKIN.)
The campus is quite pretty during the summer. The grounds are always a treat—with master gardens digging away seemingly everywhere. In fact, every year in the late spring, the gardening department holds a kind of Oklahoma land rush on flowers. They take all the extras they have, send out a general email, and invite staff to come with boxes in hand and at the stroke of noon, rush toward the plants and GRAB. Thankfully, no one is displaced, and there are no fatalities.
Ah—here is my building. It houses the English department, along with Theater, Arts and Humanities. So, by campus building standards, it is a little more interesting than the average building.
The signs of readying for classes to begin are everywhere. Painting, painting, painting. Fresh paint signs hang all over the place. The college must have gotten a great deal on rainbow colors, as every door, door jamb, and window sill is painted in a different color.
Entering my office, I see something NEW? What is this? Cool—new computers for everyone. Now, let’s see if I can remember my password. Is it the dog’s name? the cat’s? my children? my husband? Hmmmm—think, think, think. Got it!
Next I check out the classroom. Six rows wide, by five rows deep. This is very important, as every year I draw up a diagram and then fill in student names. Human nature being what it is, we tend to sit in the same seat each time we go back to a public space. (Uh-huh—so, last time you were in church . . .assuming there was a “last” time, did you sit in the same pew?) I rely on this human tendency as a way to learn student names. I fill out the chart for a couple of classes, then keep it handy and as we have discussions, I call on students by name. I once had a fellow instructor tell me he did not know whether or not someone was in his class because he doesn’t bother to learn their names!
Oh great—it is a SMART classroom, for both sections. That absolutely makes my day (and very likely my semester). I use this technology to prepare PowerPoint presentations for students. Another human tendency—if the instructor is lecturing, don’t take notes. If she begins to use a PowerPoint, TAKE NOTES. Don’t ask me why—it is just true.
Finally, the text books. The reader Every Day Everywhere, I have used before and loved. It has such wonderful essays in it as “Sperm in a Jar.” This is one I frequently begin with—after all, you have to get their attention first. And then there is the grammar handbook—Easy Writer—this is what I went to campus to retrieve.
Now, must stop writing blog. . .time to write my syllabus. . .ignore Harry Potter calling my name. . .must write syllabus. . .eyes getting very sleepy. . .must write sylla------zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!