Meeting My New Class

I’m ready. I’ve got my picture of Chris Pratt, my Redbull given to me by strange women outside my office, and my half-eaten tuna sandwich. I don’t know what I could possibly do to prepare more for my first day back at teaching. I guess I could pack a rope and some spare pants, but I doubt I’ll need those before the third week.

Week 5 is usually when I need to bust out the contingency jeans

Like every semester, I’ve got some feelings about getting started again. I haven’t exactly changed much since I got my first class. Sure, I’m happier while somehow also being more bitter; I’m better at managing my time, but all that means is I know exactly how much I can procrastinate without hurting myself; I might even be more patient with new students, but I really don’t want to see the occasion in which that patience is tested. Like a doctor who hates their job, I’d rather have no patience.

I’m professionally obligated to treat you, but I’d rather not go to the trouble

I’m excited, like every other time, but now I have a better idea of what I should be excited for. Students used to represent infinite potential to me, and they still do in a way, but I also have a much more realistic idea of what they’ll be. Despite their apparent physical, emotional, and cognitive differences, students are human. Even though I’ve heard my kids talk about staying up all night for days on end while fueled only by pizza and the dark magic of loans, I know they are, at their core, pretty much just younger versions of me. So I’m not so much excited by the wild potential of my new students, but I’m really looking forward to how weird they all are compared to the boring milquetoast khaki-wearing doofus I’ve become.

And I’m also nervous, but like with everything else, I’m way better at being nervous now than I was a year ago. I used to worry that my class wouldn’t like my jokes or my personality of my tendency to bombard them with pictures of my objectively adorable cat. I’ve no such trepidations now. Even though my last class did laugh at me–when I wanted them to and sometimes when I didn’t–I still wouldn’t be too worried. I’ve graduated beyond that specific fear because I’ve achieved that ideal level of emotional numbness and overwhelming apathy where I don’t care if they dislike my humor because I’m going to keep making jokes anyway, and who doesn’t like puns? However, the thing I definitely am nervous about is that this new flock of youthful bloodhounds will be with me through the next 16 weeks, through the next semester in which I’m teaching, grading, running two other jobs on the side, and working on my own Master’s program. They’re going to see me decay like a pumpkin left out after Halloween. I worry they will see me rot, and they will use that weakness. This might be the first semester I give extra credit.

This exhausted-looking dog captures perfectly how I feel after a restful Summer; this is me at my peak

I wish I was a plant. Ferns do not need to play name games and share fun facts about their Summer. But I’m not a fern. I’m a teacher, and my job involves interacting with a lot of people every day and getting to know them, and they inevitably get to know me too, but that’s what I’m afraid of. I don’t want these students to know me too well. In semesters before this, I’ve walked a fine line between letting my students know me as a person and making sure they don’t think they can treat me like other people in their lives. It’s frustrating when I have a student I think is a cool person, but I have to treat them like everyone else, or when I have a student I’d like to smack with a gardening trowel, but I have to treat them exactly the same as the students I actually like.

Teaching continues to be a weird job. The students are strange and are undeniably human which is equal parts exhausting and refreshing. Like other teachers, I can say that my students inspire me. Unlike other teachers, I’m going to finish that sentence. My students inspire me… to drink, and complain, and work very hard, and stay up late doing extra, and they also make me want to jump off a bridge. And now it’s time for me to go off and meet a new batch.

21 Replies to “Meeting My New Class”

  1. I really enjoy your writing. New fan! I love your balance of cynicism, wit and thoughtfulness. I’ve begun writing a humor blog as well. Do you have any suggestions on how to increase readership? Thanks so much and good luck with the new semester. Here’s to not decaying like an old gourde.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey thanks!

      I’m not certain I’m the best person for that kind of advice, but I can say what has somehow worked out for me. I post consistently, write about pretty mundane stuff because it’s relatable and also I’m a boring person, and it helps to think of writing as practice and that a post that doesn’t do well doesn’t mean you’re not a good writer.

      Also, from a technical standpoint, I think WordPress stops showing posts in the reader as much when they have over 10 tags.

      Like

      1. Thanks so much for the info I appreciate it! I’m still getting the hang of the tagging and well pretty much everything with the exception of using my space bar. Scratch that, I probably could use some work with that too. I did notice you post pretty much every day which is fantastic! My stories are a bit longer so I’m working to do shorter posts and posts more than once a week. I’ll definitely make note not to have too many tags, so thank you! I look forward to reading more of your stories. And thank you for the advice. If you feel like reading about the woes of a comic book loving, onsie wearing, cake eating, singer songwriter, stop by and give me your thoughts. Cheers, Nina

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What girl’s name is in style this year? Lots of Meaghans? Or are they all spelled “Maygun” because their parents wanted to be yooneek? Maybe there are three or four named “Summer” all grouped into one of your classes. I’ll never forget the year I had, all in one composition and conversation class, a Spring, Autumn, and Summer. After I finished reading off the names I asked if anyone knew where Winter was, that maybe she was late or couldn’t find the classroom. That made everyone laugh. Even Spring, Autumn, and Summer laughed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope, truly, that you are writing a book. I’d definitely read it. One of my favorite things about teaching was making my students laugh. I remember two years ago I had this super lame class that never got any of my jokes and hated most of the literature. Thank goodness I had other classes to reassure me of how hilarious I am. I was glad to see the lame bunch go, haha. Good luck to you!

    Liked by 2 people

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