Tuesday, July 2, 2013

RYS Flashback: 6 Years Ago Today.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Death By Office

For the first time in 6 weeks I walked on campus this morning. I don't know why I did it. I'm old enough to know better.

It was quiet, of course, pleasant. A greensward of land just open and pretty. I waved at someone I knew who was across the quad from me. I strolled in an unseasonably cool morning to my office.

My eyes settled on my bookshelves, and I pulled a couple of volumes out I wanted to read at home. The life of the mind, I was reminded.

Then I sat down and looked at the surface of my desk where the remains of my final grading sessions remained. I saw the names of the petulant punks who had made my Spring semester one big fucking nightmare. Complaints. Whining. "I have to get ready for SongFest! Can I do my paper next week instead?"

A sour feeling took over my stomach and I just wanted to go home and black out the windows for a while.

So much of my job is wonderful. The parts that kill my spirit are all tied up in that list of names, the students. They come in to the classroom - and more will come in the Fall semester - and everything I dreamed about for my career gets dashed against their pointy heads and limited ambition.

I could not get out of that room fast enough.


  1. This is sadly familiar to me: I often feel no different. I used to have all sorts of eagerly held ideas for making my students' experience more enriching than usual. But they're gone now. Some days I can't even go into my office--I drive to the university, see my building, think of all the shit students and administration put me through, and turn around and go home. I almost never miss a class, but .....

  2. This is why I try to shove all traces of student work into some invisible nook and/or cranny the instant I submit end-of-term grades. It's as close as it comes to de-toxing the office (but I admit that I often work better from home regardless).

  3. Ever live in a place attractive to tourists, such as a ski resort, or a beach town? It doesn't take long for you to start resenting the tourists---even though, if your rational brain is allowed its say, the town wouldn't exist if it weren't for the tourists. Of course summer is the best time of year on campus: there aren't any students.

    1. I grew up in a college town, and it wasn't for nothing that my parents' favorite season was summer.

  4. I took 2 years leave from my teaching job to fulfill my Ph. D. residency.

    Coming back after that was finished was an eerie experience. I had knots in my stomach when I set foot on the premises for the first time since I left for my leave. Within minutes, my shoulders began tightening and I soon had a tension headache. I was severely tempted to turn back and go home, but I needed to go to work because my residency had exhausted my bank accounts.

    The following year of teaching only became worse after that.