It’s been a very long time since I’ve lost sleep over anything. Last night was crazy. I must have waked up 800 times. Someone said I flopped all over the bed and kept him awake too. Even Gracie moved to the floor which is very unusual for her.
Yesterday afternoon, I visited the payroll department at the college where I’ll be teaching. A one-inch-thick stack of forms had to be filled out so that I could be added to the payroll…to receive a check for teaching a 15-week class that is less money than I make in one week at my real job. It’s OK though, I’m not doing this for the money. Sadly, some of the adjuncts are working for the money. It makes me feel very fortunate. Well, I am very fortunate. Not many people have a job like mine…regardless of my opinion of it.
Last night, there was a meeting at the college for all the adjuncts (all those who showed up…apparently many didn’t come). We all signed official employment contracts, and then we had 90 minutes of training on a new early warning system that needs to be incorporated into my syllabus and gradebook. At least this system is new to everyone so I don’t feel behind with it. We're all equally lost.
My course opens a week from Monday. It’s still not ready! I still have lots of questions about best practices in the online environment and how things will work and be scheduled with the simulator we use for IT courses. I still have four modules of Blackboard certification training to complete before next Friday. Still – still – still. Despite having a whole summer to prepare, I’m STILL floundering like a fish out of water.
So, driving home after the meeting last night, the realization sunk in that ready or not, this course is happening soon and I’m responsible for 30 people. Teaching is something I’ve hoped for and daydreamed about for 15 years. The opportunity and time is now…and now I’m in full panic mode. Great! Why must everything with me be do or die? Why can’t anything in this life be easy? Why can’t I be one of those calm, confident people who are successful just because they wake up breathing in the morning? Ok…maybe those people don’t really exist….but there are a few who live a seemingly-charmed life.
Here are some bits of wisdom I’ve gleaned from chatting with experienced faculty.
- Most students don’t want to learn and will put forth minimal effort.
- All students will exploit any weakness in the system.
- Anything I say or write can and will be used against me.
- Most students will cheat if the opportunity arises.
- Some students will know way more than me, and some will read/write at grade-school level.
- Some will have signed up and paid for an online class who have never used a computer in their lives.
- I will piss off at least one student who will post my phone number on Twitter and ask the world to join them in harassing me. Do not let any students know my cell number – EVER. (They won’t…I signed up for a Google Voice number).
It all sounds like my role will be to lead a pack of wolves. The idealistic part of me wants to believe that only a few students will be as malicious as portrayed by my colleagues. I'm not looking for any glory or to trip anyone up. I just want to help some people along in their journey to find a better life. Who doesn't like to see good things happen to good people?