Friday, August 19, 2011

Staycation 2011: Day 4 (with a little bit of Day 3)

Day 3 - Wednesday - really wasn't much to talk about. I mainly did work around the house, cleaning and shit, watched "The Boogens" while folding laundry. Like I said, boring 747. I learned a valuable lesson thought: Never look a dead boogens in the face.

Now, Day 4.

Day 4 actually was sorta lame in its beginning. Simply put, I had to teach my first classes of the semester today. So, waking up at 9:30, I showered up, got my shit together and ran up out the house.

11:00a - Ah, the first class of the semester is always exciting, very much a make it or break it moment. It's in the thrill of the new faces, the enthusiasm of the students who want to learn, and the opportunity to reach open minds.

11:05a - I finish reviewing the syllabus, and I give my standard speech about my background. I stick my USB drive into the computer ...

Wait, a bit of background. The school where I teach is a little more backwards than a rearview mirror. Technologically, it's quite stunted in its growth. The actual building where I teach has been undergoing some renovations, among which, over the summer, was the upgrade of two classrooms to become what I'm terming "cyber classrooms." They have pretty up-to-date computers, operating systems, A/V enhancements, camera equipment, a microphone ... all kinds of snazzy shit.

I stick the USB drive in the slot, and as soon as I do, the screen for the projector goes up, and the touchscreen reads "Projector shutting down to cool off." The entire system goes offline.

11:10a - The moment I realize that I can't bring up the projector or the touchscreen. I reboot the computer, and that's all great and shit, but I can't sign in. See, I was never given an official sign-in username and password for the terminals, the adjuncts were just given a common set of sign-in credentials. Those credentials which are not getting me into the terminal.

11:15a - I'm on the phone with IT. 20 students are staring at me, wondering if they should walk out, talking amongst themselves. The IT guy doesn't understand at first who I am, or why I'm calling, or how to deal with the situation which, I assure you, I am very clearly defining for him. All of his recommendations are falling short of helping me.

11:20a - I'm waiting for the IT guy to come to the classroom to help me in person.

11:30a - He finally has me in the system. The crazy part is, he acts like this was to be expected. I learn that this classroom was just set up for all of this technology in the last week, that I have been the first professor to actually use the room, and only the second person to even try to cut the damn things on, and that all the adjuncts have been assigned new sign-in information (which we weren't told in our adjunct meeting Tuesday).

11:45a - I'm on the system, everything is up and running, and I have the presentation ready to go. And, honestly, it's got to be the most boring part of the intro part of psychology, all history & statistics/ research. Boring as fuck. These students have waited for 3/4 an hour to be bored to fucking death.

12:00p - I find a good spot right before a transition into the next chapter and I dismiss the class.

Now, between this point and the start of the next class, there's a nice bit of down time. So, I spend that talking to IT to make sure I get all my credentials I need before ...

6:00p - Class 2 of the three I'm teaching this semester. And it's actually pretty fun. Saw some of the folks that I had to fail - or rather, that failed themselves - last semester. I knocked out three hours of lecture. Three hours of boring ass crap. It'll be great to get to the good shit, but right now ... yawn central.

9:30p - I get to the house, and settle in for the evening. And it occurs to me at this point, this hasn't been much of a 'cation, va- or stay- or whatever. I decide then that tomorrow I'm sleeping in late.

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