austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

The good thing that I had

One of the side effects of my parents' vacation is that I missed yoga last week, and will this week too. The problem is my mother teaches a course that is really a light introduction-to-statistics course, and that's the same night as yoga, and with her away she needs someone to fill in, and the most logical person is me. I note that as far as I can tell she has never consulted with anyone in her department, much less the Deanery, about this substitution, which may be why it isn't helping me press my case for adjunct work of my own there. In any case the campus security guard lets me in just on my assertion that I'm going to her class, with vague answers about what I'm going there for. I'm prepared to say that I'm speaking before the class, if asked, but the guard usually asks if I'm sitting in first and I figure it's easiest to go along with his suppositions.

Actually standing up in front of a class for the first time in ages inspires some mixed feelings. On the one I get to enjoy the awkwardness of the first day of class --- complete with one student coming in a moment late with the ``I wasn't sure this was the right room'' shy walking in --- and on the other there's the challenge of teaching something to another person's lecture notes. (More, Powerpoint slides. Well, Keynote converted to Powerpoint, but still.) And it's a basically non-mathematical class so I can't go around and introduce the subject the way I would if left to my own devices. Also my mother left a set of barely comprehensible instructions about what to do in case the online class information scheme fails to make visible or make hidden the appropriate assignment and lecture note files, but it seems to have done that all right so I'm trying to hope it's not anything important.

And yet, after a couple minutes talking the rust fell away, and even if one student really wanted a far more rigorous treatment than the class could support (or than I could deliver on short order), and even if the ten-minute break between the first and second hours of lecture was much harder to get ended cleanly than it should have been, boy it felt good to be teaching. It was like the teasing of a shower after a heat wave, and is the sort of thing that gives new energy to the long dull struggle of trying to get colleges to acknowledge the existence of my CV.

Trivia: While managing editor of The New York Tribune from 1917 to 1919, Garet Garrett simplified all headlines to various sizes, widths, and the occasional italic variant of Bodoni, making it the first newspaper not to draw from all offhand typefaces for headlines. Source: The Paper: The Life And Death Of The New York Herald Tribune, Richard Kluger.

Currently Reading: For Want Of A Nail: If Burgoyne Had Won At Saratoga, Robert Sobel.

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