And so it begins (again)

So a new semester has begun (actually we’re wrapping up our third week, but the blog was on hiatus when the semester actually started). It’s a very weird feeling meeting your new classes for the first time. In my case, I’ve taught this same class four times already. I can practically recite it from memory. So there isn’t any anxiety over my ability to handle the material, but there is always anxiety over the students. Yes, I’ve been teaching at the same school for a while, so I sort of know what to expect. The problem is figuring out which student is which. I know by now there are certain types who pop up over and over again, but the kids don’t walk in with signs on their neck telling me which type they are. I’ve learned some markers which should be strong indicators mean nothing in the end. Kids in Greek organizations are sometimes very studious and sweet. Athletes are sometimes incredibly smart and serious about their studies. As much as I complain about business majors, two of the best students I’ve ever had were in the business school.

So for the first few weeks of school, I will have no idea who is who. Gradually I will learn their names and what type of students they are, but right now I’m teaching to a room full of undifferentiated faces. But I know that among the sixty students I am teaching this semester:

-At least one will meet with me to discuss a paper grade and it will become abundantly clear the real complaint is, “But I wanted an A”

-At least five will perform notably below his/her capabilities

-At least one will work his/her butt off and just never get it

-At least two will concoct transparent stories to excuse absences/late papers

-At least one will complain about something stupid

-At least one will experience a genuine tragedy or serious illness

-At least five will ask to leave my class early to attend Greek events and be shocked when I say it will impact their attendance records

-At least one will make me sweary and stabby

-At least one will genuinely make me think about something in a new way

-At least one will make me laugh at something inappropriate

-At least one will have enough background in the subject matter so as to be hopelessly bored by the low level of the class

-At least three will make it clear they are too good for my class (but will be mistaken)

-At least one will excel at the material and not care because the subject matter isn’t legitimate enough

-At least one will break my heart in some way (not romantically speaking)

-And hopefully, at least one will remind me why I put myself through this for what amounts to less than minimum wage

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