Tomorrow is the big day. It’s up in front of the class, it’s better hope you don’t have anything stuck in your teeth, it’s try to sound like a professional grown up who does not use the f-bomb like it’s her fucking job. I have not gone over my first-day patter, maybe I should do that. But I’ve figured out what I’m going to wear (except shoes, which I will decide last minute).

Yesterday I realized I had two weeks between paper due dates, and even I’m not that cruel. Then I realized that most of my assigned readings were TBD toward the end of the semester, which made me look like a slacker, so I had to address that. I revised the syllabus ten times yesterday rather than sending my sister the tea she has been begging for. And then today I uploaded the syllabus three times to the online course management thing because I kept finding errors.

After reading that it wouldn’t surprise you to know that I once had to buy two tickets to California because I fucked up the dates. (Too bad I didn’t know you then, Teri, I would have come visit!) And maybe then you can understand why filling out my taxes fills me with terror. God knows why anyone lets me do anything with anyone.

What scares you?


20 responses to “EEEEPP!

  1. What scares you?

    Until I’m notified, medical results. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING else scares me like waiting.

    You’re not asking but here’s two pieces of advice for your first day:
    1. Make them laugh and they will love you and learn.
    2. Don’t take advice from anybody.

  2. The teaching advice I was given, as a very young, fairly small, woman-type teacher (from another of my kind) was to be a little firmer and more dour than I naturally was, to avoid being dismissed by the hulking, bear-like undergrads. I may have overshot that one a bit, since one of my sharpest memories of that time is a teary student saying, “You know, you aren’t that easy to talk to,” when I was icily laying into her about her failure to exert any effort in my class. Do I feel badly? I do not.

    But go ahead, laughter is good. But don’t be afraid to frighten them some too. It’s good for their little souls.

    And what scares me is new kinds of physical infirmity. I’m used to my own familiar aches and shortcomings, but if I develop a new one, I go into worst-case-scenario mode and start imagining my loved ones’ lives without me. Usually at about three in the morning.

    Good night!

    • This is good advice! (And the teary student was probably good prep for being a parent.) I plan on scaring them. The line I’m preparing is “and you’d better get your citations right. I once spent 40 hours a week for three months editing nothing but references. Don’t think you can get anything by me.”

      • My training in taking no bullshit went like this: retail, academia, toddler parenting. The coming teen years still scare me.

      • Awe come in guys, lighten up. There’s enough scary shit going on in the world, why bring it into the classroom. I’m not saying do stand-up. But making a kid cry, no way. Piss them off or make them feel like shit and you lose them, make them smile and you own them.

    • Oops didn’t mean to post yet. I ignored this advice, which was a mistake. But I was only a few years older than my students and you are thirty *mumble* and uber qualified.

      Go get ’em Indy!

    • Until Thanksgiving i had heard it said. But I live in the antipodes; we don’t have Thanksgiving, and all our students are on summer holidays at Christmas (and some of us here are jewis. Christwhat?).

  3. Just remember, you’re more scared of them than they are of you. I mean . . . no, that’s right.

    Of course, I taught seventh grade, so your students may vary.

    Best of luck! We’re all rooting for you!

  4. You’ve got this. When it doubt, mouth shut. I’ve had to learn that one the hard way, nervous babbler that I am, but it works in business and it always worked in school. The teacher who paused for a moment was always the most intimidating.

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