October 31st, 2011

krazy koati

Everybody's groovy, all their eyes are flashing

The department secretary walked me to the classroom, and showed me the staff room nearby to it which I'm allowed to use for office hours. The classroom itself was ... locked. There was a class going on inside, coming to its conclusion, but we couldn't open the door and had to wait for those inside to let us in. It turns out I'm lecturing in a computer room, so the door is supposed to automatically lock, so most of the time the door is wedged open. The security office would update my staff card to give me access within the week.

Still, the computer lab-ness of it indicated that my class prep time would be considerably eased: the class has been taught many times before and they'd given me a set of PowerPoint slides covering all the recommended course topics. I could improvise around it, but, I had the backbone for my lectures all written. If only there were an instructor's computer somewhere around the front of the room. There's not. I had brought my iPad, with a copy of the first chapter's slides on it, but there wasn't any adaptor which fit any iPad ports. I'm still trying to figure out this one. I like doing board work better instead anyway, but I do have to figure out the backbone for my lectures.

However, as had been promised, the class was reasonably well-behaved. Possibly I terrified them, as when I started passing out the syllabus I introduced it as the first exam. I didn't hold them in suspense long. My pacing was a little weird; the review of the syllabus and what I hoped to cover in the course came quicker than I expected, but that did mean I had more time to plunge into examples, which, since I clearly have to do a lot of examples of each calculation, was a good thing.

After class I held office hours in the Adjunct Instructors Office, which I had been told about before, but as it's in a different building I didn't figure to use it afterwards. I did meet an adjunct doing several history courses, and we chatted a bit while he photocopied his study sheet listing the ten categories of things one needed to know to understand any war. He gave me a copy of his sheet, for whatever reason.

My class turned out to have closer to fifteen than thirty-five people, so, right away my time spent grading homework was cut in half.

Trivia: In a 1298 royal procession, the Fishmongers Company pageant included four gilded sturgeons carried on four horses, four silvered salmon on another four horses, followed by 46 men on horseback, and one representing Saint Magnus (the parish church of Saint Magnus was that for London Bridge). Source: Old London Bridge: The Story Of The Longest Inhabited Bridge In Europe, Patricia Pierce.

Currently Reading: The Ugly American, William J Lederer, Eugene Burdick. A lot of this essay-in-vignette-form could also be taken as an exploration of Freeman Dyson's (?) legendary division of projects into Plan A and Plan B, with big organizations preferring Plan A, the massive high-prestige high-risk program that eats up all budget and manpower and faces complete ruin if it fails, versus Plan B, with small risks, low prestige, but almost certain steady success.