This is not a good omen for the start of the semester: I've already let something fall through the cracks. I fully intended to go to an information session about ENG100 this week, so I could find out whether the parameters and requirements of the class would work with what I want to do--but in a moment of brain fade, I didn't write the date and time in my calendar, so I conveniently misremembered when it was scheduled. I really wanted it to be today at 2. It was yesterday at 10. I'd been thinking for a few days, "I really should write down when that meeting is, so I'm sure," and then conveniently forgetting to do that--until yesterday, when I checked my e-mail at 10:46.
Cathy was very understanding about it; I think a lot of us are already on brain overload, just trying to get set up for our classes and get all our meetings sorted out. There's already a meeting conflict brewing: I probably need to attend a meeting of the curriculum committee about the DEE (Distance Education Equivalency) for Nature in Lit, and the past chair of the committee wanted to reschedule the first meeting to tomorrow, when I already have a seminar hours meeting. (By the say, she said she is stepping down as chair--and I don't blame her. She's essentially done the work of the entire committee single-handed, with occasional assists from a very small handful of others--and the tasks of the committee are large, important, complex, and time-consuming. I was co-chair for a while with Scott, as well as being the elected rep to the College-Wide Curriculum Committee, and I was very happy to let all that go a number of years ago. She has my complete empathy for doing the same.)
I also am having a complete brain fade about whether I ever figured out how to get our new office printer to print the index cards I use to keep student records on (attendance, grades). I had it in my head that I was able to figure it out--but if that were the case, there should be a stack of blank cards here, and there isn't, but there is such a stash at home. I'd rather use the printer here, as my home printer is an ink-jet, so the print runs if it gets wet, but I'm not sure I want to wrestle more with the office printer if I've already been to that fire. But I just looked at the paper drawer, and it seems like I should be able to get it to work....
This is the kind of idiotic minutiae that keeps me awake at night. I do love solving problems and puzzles, but the fact that I obsess about this trivia is ridiculous.
But setting that aside, all my classes are filled to the max. At the last minute, a whole bunch of classes suddenly filled--and I suspect a lot of students are going to be unable to take the comps (or remedials) they need because we canceled so many sections and then got a late flood of enrollment. I just looked and there are a few evening sections that are not at capacity, and a few ESL-dedicated sections that are still underenrolled, but everything else is booked solid.This is something to keep in mind for next fall. We don't dare give sections that look weak to FT faculty--it's too much of a gamble--but maybe we should keep more sections open longer to accommodate a late surge. (Note to self.)
So, now that I know the numbers for all my sections, I've made all my photocopies for the first two weeks and sent out a bunch of things to be copied by Printing and Publications (which I would do with more of my handouts if I knew enough in advance how many to ask for). It's been a long time since I taught to a full house--if indeed I ever have. Scheduling the first round of conferences is going to be a bitch and a half, I'll say that. I'll probably have to bail on at least one Advisement session (and make it up later), and may have to come in on a Friday, just to give every student a chance at a time.
Scott is working on a memo to the department about the fact that we're allowed to work with our own students--but we're being warned not to focus our meetings with them only on class assignments, as it is very important to the administration that our "seminar hours" are--in their minds--doing different work from our office hours. Quite honestly, I use my office hours more for mentoring, so using seminar hours to work on a specific assignment is different from my office hours--but because other departments do things differently, the administration can't conceptualize what we (I) want to do. In fact, during the second round of conferences, some of the meetings may very well look more like mentoring--or a mix of mentoring and work on the assignment. It will be interesting to see. And I'm already planning how to account for the time. I'll be curious to see, at the end of the semester, whether I come close to the mandated 45 hours of time or not. Closer than I've been, surely, but that wouldn't take much.
I'm trying to think what else I might have forgotten to accomplish here today. I actually made more photocopies than I originally intended, but the machines were free and (more important) working, so I figured I'd make that metaphoric hay, as it were. I'm feeling unaccountably anxious about tomorrow. It's been a long time since I've had "opening night nerves" before the first day of the semester. I'm not sure if it's because I'm trying some new things or if it's because all the other factors--committee responsibilities and the work I need to do on the Nature in Lit DEE in particular--are already feeling slightly ominous, as if I've over-committed myself yet again. (Scott and I exchanged a few e-mails about the whole "Once you're a full professor the pressure is off" thing, and how it doesn't seem to be at all the case for us: the curse of giving a shit.) We'll see. If the feeling of pressure gets too intense, I'll figure out what I can ditch. I'll be up for re-election to P&B at the end of this year, for one thing. I don't much want to ditch it--as long as I'm evening supervisor, it makes sense for me to be on it, among other things--but it's that or seminar hours, and I won't abandon Scott.
But that's the future. Ain't nothin' I can do about the future right now; no telling even what it holds. So, calm yourself, Prof. P--even if doing so requires a rather large vodka gimlet...
And tomorrow, I'll meet the SF students. Cool beans!