Saturday, January 18, 2014

It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times...

Our first week is drawing to a close at Midwest Comprehensive Regional U, and both kinds of flakes have fallen all over is the unique and delicate kind, and the other wears shorts to trudge through the first.

So far my courses are shaping up quite nicely despite every effort of my department to much things up.  I was assigned a new course (why stop having to to do course development?  I've proven in my 9 years that I'm apparently ok with it, having to add a new course to my rep at least once a year) but at least I am not overload (yet).  

But in each course there is that one problem 'flake.  The one that started asking questions before the semester began - actually before the previous semester ended.

In my Advanced Interdisciplinary Hamster Design course I put in a great effort to attract art majors to collaborate with the majors from my own department.  I hoped that the infusion of creativity and perspective from outside would benefit the entire class.  That has yet to be seen, but I managed to capture one of the more needy students that I've had the pleasure of interacting with, Blind Bob.

Blind Bob desperately wanted to take the course, as I know from the 4 emails he sent me in November.  By the second, he was already asking for the course name again so he could register.  The third, the course number.  Email #4 alerted me to a conflict with another course (Hamster Sculpting, I believe) and so I thought it was the last I'd heard from Bob.

Until January, when the process completely repeated itself.  Email 1 detailed how much he was looking forward to the class, the second asked for the course title, the third for the number, and the fourth reiterated that there was a conflict.  (A conflict?  I had no idea!)  Yesterday I got a fresh subject however, when Bob reported that he had the proper form required for resolving the conflict.  Hurray!  

I eagerly await the next update.

And then there's Non-traditional Nathan.  

In my new course, designed to tap in to that massive body of students who the department imagines is just desperately waiting with baited breath to take one of our courses (but amazingly only 10 registered!), I managed to attract the attention of 4 different faculty members, each of whom wanted to take the course.  I managed to scare 3 of 'em off (that was a close call!) but not Nathan.  He's retired and I figure that the wife kicks him out of the house, so all that's left for him is to wander back to campus and take a course here and there.

I first learned of Nathan when he left a message for me on my office phone last week, the week before classes.  The weather was bad and most of the local schools had closed.  He wanted to know if I was still having class (remember that classes started a week later) and if so, he might be late due to the weather.  

Normally I'd not respond figuring that the student would figure out well before class time that no classes were in session (for full comedic effect it would be interesting to see if they actually DID show up!) but I felt bad for Nathan and so I called him back and told his bemused wife that Nathan didn't have to worry and I'd see him next week, when classes started.

The first class session came and went, no Nathan.  

I stopped by the department office to gab with our fantastic staff (we love you, the department couldn't exist without you) and one of them let me know that Nathan had already stopped by.  He apparently couldn't find the classroom and took quite a trip around campus trying to find it.  By the time he had figured it out class was over.  

After another call we figured it all out and I expected to see him in the next session.  

Class was yesterday, and the start of class came and went, no Non-trad Nathan.  Sigh.  About 5 minutes after starting, I caught a glimpse of an elderly man walking down the stairs just outside the classroom.  I glanced back at the class and then back at the stairs, only to find that Nathan had disappeared!  

I debated running after him, but luckily he finally made his way to class.  We chatted afterwards, and he's a pleasant and charming man and he should be a fun addition to class.

But boy oh boy did I thoroughly enjoy the beer I procured shortly thereafter.  


  1. If only we had a version of retweeting: " is the unique and delicate kind, and the other wears shorts to trudge through the first."

    Are Blind Bob and Non-trad Nathan in the same class? Funsies. Nathan gets a pass (with a rueful shake of the head) for being an absent-minded professor at best and slightly senile at worst. What's Bob's excuse?

  2. Bob certainly pours on the charm, constantly attempting to impress me with his desire to get in to the class. The other 10 students had no trouble registering, but it took three more exchanges AFTER I wrote the posting in order to finally get him squared away. Of course in the midst of those emails he reiterated how much he enjoyed the first class.

    Flattery only gets you so far, Bob, so you had better keep it up!

  3. Sounds like a memorable semester ahead. I look forward to more misery from you. :)