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Hello,

Today is the first day of a new semester. I'll be teaching four classes of (depending on how many students add or drop the courses) 80-90 students. All the courses are sections of SWK-6521, which I've been making podcast lectures for here.

This is the first time I will teach four sections of the same course. (I was going to teach three sections of SWK-6521 and one section of another. However, the fourth course got canceled due to lack of enrollment, so they gave me one more section of 6521.)

Trying something different today:

I'm going to start writing this in the morning, add to it throughout the day, and then send out whatever there is as the day winds down.

More of a blog format and less of a micro-essay. No idea how it will feel about writing that way. Let me know if you like or hate the format.

6:05 am

I woke up last night at 2:19 am feeling the start of a semester nervous energy. Not sure when I got back to sleep, then I woke up at 5:15 am.

I know that I will need the quiet early morning hours to settle into some good head noise slowly.

Before writing this, I was doing some last-minute checks.

  • Did the room numbers change? (They often move around on the first day of class.)
  • How many students are in each section?
  • Do I recognize any of the names of the students? (I do recognize a few.)
  • Check emails. Did my boss email me anything? No. (Neurotically check again, and again, and again.)

Now, time to make coffee.

7:38 am

I listen to this Burial track as I watch dawn get a better grip on the day.

8:53 am

My first class meets at 9:15 am. I'm thinking about that moment before an orchestra starts to play, where all the musicians play a little bit to "tune up."

I think this is a significant moment. It is when people get in sync with one another, or they don't. I don't know if this is right or wrong, but I think that if someone cannot get in the right mode at this moment, it will affect how they play.

The first class is that moment of tuning up.

1:17 pm

The first class went ok, not great, but I'm satisfied with the start. I'll teach the same class later today. Maybe I'll get a better start then.

It is odd teaching the same class at opposite ends of the day. The first class meets at 9:15 am, and the second one starts at 6:00 pm. I'm going to be paying attention to how the classes feel different.


Thoughts:

I've been thinking lots about how I want to teach in as authentic a way as possible, about how I can be more concerned with what I think is important and less concerned with the way the classes would look to administrators.

What is important to me? I want to try to get something across to students: We only have the time and the life that we have. I know that is cliche, but it is often overlooked. Every day we live is one less tomorrow. How we use the time we have, how we live our lives day in and day out, has effects, and those effects are important.

The changes our day-to-day living has on ourselves, others, and the world we live in are small, but they add up over time.

I want to somehow get students to think about having a good effect on themselves, others, and the world we share throughout our lives.

I want to get into the idea that it is always easier to say, "I'll get to it --to really trying to improve– later." It is easy to think we will always have enough (i.e., more time), but we might have less than we think.

Today, now, right now, this time, and what we do with it matters.

Ok. Enough of me being sanctimonious.

10:14 pm

The second half of my day got busy working on editing an episode of InForm: Podcast that I hope to have out soon.

Now it is late, and I am tired. I shall read for a bit then try to sleep.