austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Don't wanna be all by myself

So recitation sections began today. This has been a peculiar frustration beyond the already bizarre local attitude of picking recitation dates and times after classes begin. For whatever reason there's been more confusion than usual about what rooms and times are available, and when. I already had to alternate between a computer room and an ordinary classroom, and it turns out I can expect to have to alternate the classroom between two available rooms as well. Until yesterday I didn't have an answer as to whether I'd be in the computer room or a classroom, and if a classroom, which.

Yesterday, I got the word to use the alternate classroom. I sent e-mail out and posted an announcement of the exact room number. When I got there today and set up ... no one was present. I gave it some time, since the busses are a bit out of synch with class hours this side of campus and I'll often get a wave of students. No dice. I started outlining my next lecture, and fuming that after the effort of finding a time nearly everyone could meet, nobody bothered to show up. After maybe ten minutes, one of my students wandered in ... they had gathered in the other classroom.

I'm slightly irrationally upset by this. This mixup means (1) my students did not read e-mails from me stating the class number, name, and meeting place in the subject as well as the body of the message, nor the posted announcement on the class web site; (2) all the fuss about classrooms was useless since all three sites were available; (3) I lost a class hour I could have used explaining the numerical mathematics tools; and (4) I had to start out this part of class looking foolish. I run things informally and humorously, but at my discretion. Dashing into class late with my notes and book clutched sloppily in my arms sets me in a sour mood all day.

Trivia: The International Telegraph Union directed in 1885 that all commercial telegraph messages must be genuine words in German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Portugese, or Latin, and the sending office could demand proof of a word's legitimacy. Source: The Victorian Internet, Tom Standage.

Currently Reading: Remaking the World: Adventures in Engineering, Henry Petroski.


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