Wednesday, January 23, 2008
First Day of School
I taught my classes for the first time today, since I'm on a Monday-Wednesday teaching schedule and Monday was a holiday. They both went well, I think. Some of the newcomers to my fiction workshop looked a little shellshocked, but they'll be fine once we get into the swing of things. And my Tolkien course looks like it's going to be a complete blast. (But then, it always is! I wish I got to teach it more often than every three years.)
One of my students is going to bring me some WD40 for my squeaking office chair, which is very kind of her.
I got several compliments on my shawl, which I wore today; one colleague said that now she's inspired to start knitting herself.
It was a long day, though: up at 6:00 so I could get to the gym at 7:00 and work out before a 9:30 job talk. Then to my office to eat lunch and do various chores before class. Teach from 1-2:15, go back to office, have surprisingly crowded office hours because of students needing to declare majors and minors, teach again from 5:30-6:45. Teaching's pretty physically draining, at least for me, and especially so on the first day, since I'm always trying to race through gobs of bureaucratic details (walking the students through the syllabus and so forth) while also being entertaining enough that they'll want to come back.
We've had a scary series of assaults/abductions near campus, so everybody's being instructed to use the Campus Escort service after dark. My parking lot's a good seven-minute walk from my office, through some fairly deserted parts of campus, so Gary and I thought I should start using the service. The UNR police have been sending out e-mails with a bunch of numbers to call to request an escort; I tried many of them, which didn't work, and finally got the right one and was told I'd have a fifteen-minute wait.
I thought the escort would be one or two people in bright orange vests with walkie-talkies, so I sat inside the building where I could see them come to the front door. I waited, chatted with some grad students, waited some more, drummed my fingers, waited yet some more, and then mentioned to a colleague coming in that I was waiting for an escort. "They're out there!" he told me.
I raced outside and discovered a van, waiting where I couldn't have seen them from inside the building. Turns out that they'd been waiting for ten minutes and were about to chalk me off as a no-show. I felt terrible, but at least I know how the system works now, and I must say that it was nice getting a warm ride to my car. (It will be especially nice when I've been waiting for them out in the cold!)
So I'm home now, full of Gary's excellent dinner, simultaneously wired and exhausted. Tomorrow I can sleep in a little, thank goodness!