first day report

I can't believe I'm still awake -- I'm in that tired & wired state. It was a really long day, but being around so many people, and so "on" (especially compared with my summertime existence) is taking a while to process out of my system. My undergrad class felt good -- though I have 4 Jennifers, 2 Ashleys, and 3 Jessicas. It's going to take me a little longer than usual to learn their names. I suspect 5 or 6 of the students were only there for the day/time slot -- maybe I've scared them off to take an easier class somewhere else.

I'm undecided about the grad students -- it wasn't an ordinary seminar meeting, since they hadn't had any reading assignment beforehand. Will reserve judgment until next week. But I think I really prefer teaching undergrads -- even though I know we're not supposed to admit that. I had a couple of really top-notch seminars a few years ago that were pretty energizing -- but lately I've been doing our MA-level courses (part of the rotation) which are frustrating in various ways. I'm pleased with this new course, though -- I was still tweaking it right up until the last minute.

I have several really intense students this semester -- and you have to be pretty intense for it to be noticeable on the first day! Intense not in an intellectually serious way -- but more in the awkward "make myself known to the teacher" kind of way. (Behavior that we don't often get in our student population -- a nontraditional bunch by and large.) I don't really know what to do with such obvious suck-ups. Especially since one of them is already irritating the heck out of me -- my ever-frostier responses to her didn't seem to sink in. I'm sure things will settle down a bit once they realize that having a nose ring and a sense of style doesn't mean I'm not demanding.

I've been practicing my "very relaxing" response to the inevitable summer questions (as have other people!) with good results. I got to hear several great stories about dogs. We could practically have a dog park just for my department, if only it were allowed. It was only my chair who persisted (rather rudely I thought) in saying "well, did you get a lot of things done?" I simply said "yes, I got a lot done." He doesn't need to know what, exactly.