Sunday, September 11, 2011

TEACHING - Saturdays are back

WRITING & TEACHING – The turn of the tide

Even when I win, I lose. And then when I lose, I win. No, I should have written that the other way around. Things are just not going as well as I wanted, or, er... they are exactly what I had asked for.

On Saturday I went to start my writing course at Montgomery College. I've been working there since 2007 and have always taught at least one course there every session (fall, winter, summer). For this fall, the enrollment for my writing class was super low, so low that we were almost sure to cancel. But they wanted me to come in for the first class at least, hoping for the slim chance that people would enroll that very morning and boost up the roster. This fall they had already canceled a few courses – things are really crazy, even at colleges.

We didn't have enough people. It was guaranteed. Plus, out of the people who do sign up, somehow not everyone comes. I will never understand this – people pay for a course and then don't even come or even try to contact the instructor on the first day. How crazy is that?! So we had to cancel the class. My colleague in charge of helping the students find other classes asked me if I wanted to keep waiting to see if more people would show up. She didn't want to cancel. Of course the students didn't want to change courses. But there was one person in the room who wanted the course to be canceled...

So 15 minutes after the class' starting time, we canceled. I wished everyone the best and went on my way. I was SOOOOOOOOOOOO happy! We finally don't really need the money. I mean, we're not wealthy or anything, but we're fine. Already this school year would be the first time in a years without me taking classes. Then for it to become the first time without a second job – who knows what I would do with my new found free time? It was the biggest rush you could get, like drinking 10 cups of coffee yet without jittery regret.

My head swam with all of the things I could do. I could spend more time with Espen and Natasha. I could write. My free time would almost be doubled! Wow! I could visit friends in Virginia. I could do anything. I was invincible.

I called Natasha. I called my parents. I called Brent and Gina about going to the Renaissance Festival now on a Saturday – “I'm free on Saturdays now!” I called Kory. I called as many people as I could without killing anyone on my way home.

Then I got a call from my boss.

(note ominous spacing above)

Naturally she was calling about compensating me for being present for the first class, having prepared my syllabus, etc. It's standard procedure and never involves any news that you would not want. Just the slightly sad news that your class is canceled.

Except this time the news was something I had never heard of – the class was UNcanceled. How is that even possible? I don't know. But someone new signed up, even after I was out of the building. Now, that's really dumb to sign up for a course 20 minutes after it starts, but in ESL at MC, it happens all of the time. The thing is that those students are usually not signing up for a course that has been canceled! So anyway, we'll have our first class next Saturday. I'm really disappointed, but of course I'll still do my best and it will no doubt be a great class, as they almost always are. It's just that the free time would have been nice.

So kind of in response to that, I had a party last night with some of the neighbors. It was also to break in the deck. We need to understand motivations, anyway – if my course had really been canceled, I would have had the party to celebrate my free Saturdays. It's like kids think they're smart so they don't check their work, or they think they're dumb, so they don't check their work. People will do what they do. Below is a picture of what we did.

We also took a 1am breakfast run – special thanks to Donna for being the only one there at the time who hadn't drunk.

So anyway, I think somehow this semester is going be our transition time, and we're just going to learn to do a million things and magically produce our own free time. Yes, I mean it and believe it. I have to believe it. Details to follow.