Friday, August 18, 2006

University Life

...so, I'm on campus today as I have been much of this week. A few observations:

  1. The newbies are soooo cute. Okay, really, they're not; I just had to say something to acknowledge the vast age and mental difference between me and them. Poor darlings, so many of them are lost. At the first sign of a kind face (and I'm assuming mine must be), they issue a barrage of questions. They are so disappointed that I don't know much beyond my department's building, the library, and the administration building.
  2. I have to get a carrel in this damn library. BTW, carrying books in a bag and in your arms (and even balancing them between your thighs as you try to push the elevator button) negates everything you've ever done to prove you're not a nerd.
  3. My first semester back TAing since 2003 and they gave me a class that meets 3 times a week! WTF!!! Did they not do the math: paltry TA income minus gas prices factored by the poverty of single motherhood plus the fact that I live waaaaay off campus equals... well, you get the picture. To be fair to the university, did I ever mention that I make more monthly as a TA than I did as a first year teacher in LA? No I don't get paid in the summer, but I have insurance. I think it works out.
  4. I am TAing for the professor who taught me the second half of American history. He's a sweetheart, but this could be a problem because 1) reference the kind face remark above. people think I'm sooo nice which 2) leads them to ask me to do impossible things sometimes (especially when they know me) and 3) my 1st year teaching elementary, I worked under my old middle school principal to whom I'd never grown up--I think this Prof has similar memories.

He e-mailed me yesterday to say "I'll have the syllabus some time Friday. I'll e-mail it to you. We need 460 by Monday." To which I responded something like "Sounds good. Do you know what time, b/c I'm leaving UniversityCity Friday at 2 and won't be back til Sunday night." To which he responded, "Will try to have it by morning. If not, don't worry, you can do it Monday morning." And here's a direct quote:

I "picked" on you because I know you, how competent and good you are
(See, how well he knows me? Flattery will get you everything where I'm concerned!). Seriously, Monday morning? 460 copies that will either be front and back or require stapling and collating? On the first day of classes in a department with a copier that's always on the verge of collapse? (Yes, they've replaced it since I TAed last, but good grief!)

He also suggested I get the other TAs to help me. I'm thinking, Dear God, please don't let him be expecting me to take an active, leadership role in the hierarchy of history class TAs. I was planning to follow orders, be noncommital, and remind them how hard I am "working on my dissertation and, honestly that's the real point of all of us being here, right? So, you will cover me if I miss half the class, won't you?" **Serious Batting of Eyelashes**

Stick around for this semester. It should be interesting.

Nah, that last part is a joke--both because I take my responsibilities seriously and because I have a nervous habit of plucking my eyelashes--you can't adequately "bat" five or six lashes.

2 comments:

Quinn said...

Can't you get that bearded fellow to do the photocopying? Shouldn't he be the "senior" TA? Just askin'.

Also, remember that the department secretary has a direct pipeline to Jesus to fix the copier if it breaks, so don't worry about that.

word verification: owpig. How cool is that?

elle said...

Bearded one has assured me that I should relax because the experience will be very organic. He's teaching SC section, so his hands are full. Probably why he didn't give me any office hours to fill in.

And prof is amazingly laid back about office hours--"Share them," he says. And--the part I like "Don't set up too many, especially not you Elle b/c you're working to finish the dissertation."

Still, the fact that he knows my diss status makes me wonder what is said around the dept :-p

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