Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Big Thirsty: "In-Service Blues" from Annie Oakley.

I envy those of you on the semester system; you're three weeks closer to winter break.

In-service starts tomorrow at my little college not on the prairie. It's this introvert's worst nightmare: happy, shiny people, forced icebreakers, hijinks and hilarity. And PowerPoints. Oh, the humanity.

I'm dusting off my Buzzword Bingo cards, but I'm looking for some new games.

Q: What do you do to survive in-service without hurting someone?


  1. I endured in-service for the first few years I was teaching. The first time was when I was a brand-new instructor and I was required to participate. In subsequent years, I took courses that I thought might be useful but, almost always, proved to be a complete waste of time.

    Eventually, I stopped signing up for in-service courses altogether. I had better things to do.

  2. Show up at the start, then leave. Just like our students do!

  3. 1. Bring a fresh notebook and a favorite writing instrument
    2. Sit where no one can look over your shoulder
    3. Look around the room and ask yourself, "who needs to die?"
    4. Start outlining your mystery novel, Death by PowerPoint.

    "Professor Annie Oakley thought this afternoon was going to be another routine in-service. But then the Trust Fall exercise went horribly wrong, leaving Annie's nemesis Sandy Stockholmsyndrome crumpled on the floor--with Annie as the prime suspect."

  4. 1. Bring a sketchbook and favorite drawing instrument.
    2. See Frankie Bow, above.
    3. Look around the room and ask yourself, "who is the most interesting to look at?"
    Be sure to note pot bellies, comb-overs, and random or unkempt facial hair.
    And on the males, also note stray hair that didn't make it into the pony tail.
    4. Start sketching.
    5. Also have on hand a thermos of the best tea I can afford.
    6. And, of course, CHOCOLATE.

  5. I'm not trying to rub it in - but I have no idea what "in-service" even means.

  6. Knitting. At least I get some cosy wool socks out of the whole painful experience

  7. One year I stopped going to in-service. I got cornered by someone, a sort of faculty-involvement nazi and before he could say a word I said, "I really got a lot out of yesterday's in-service!" And then I scampered away. I've not been back.

  8. How do I survive In-service? I don't go.

    Other than beginning of the term department or Academic Senate meetings, I haven't done any in-service "activities" for 4 years. We're supposed to fill out a form showing what activities we attended and those forms are supposed to be checked against sign-in sheets. With the continuous turnover of administrators and staff over the past few years here at CC of the State of Denial, I don't think anyone is doing this anymore.

    And besides, the most that can be done to me is that I lose 12 hours of sick leave a term.

  9. I always make sure to get good and drunk before showing up to these, so that when some rah-rah snotface says something that makes we want to HURL, I let them HAVE IT.

    1. Actually, I just act naturally, and be myself. THAT ought to hold the little bastards.

    2. Heh, I recognized the allusion, but forgot the alleged perpetrator. My "research" brought me to this:

      And I am now reminded of a time when I finished a lecture but neglected to remove the wireless mic from my lapel. Having ridden an elevator whilst conversing with several students and colleagues, I was back in my office when I discovered the mic, still live. I shut it off and returned it to the lecture hall, thanking the universe that I had not gone immediately to the men's room as I had originally intended.

    3. Yes, I know that Uncle Don didn't really say that. For years I thought he did, since I could have sworn I heard him say it, but that was a re-enactment on a bloopers album, and it didn't really happen in the first place.

      Nevertheless: THAT ought to hold the little bastards.

  10. I just listen to audiobooks. And you're not alone: we just had our week of meetings this week.

  11. If the room has wi-fi and you need to do some relatively mindless tasks, like setting up your LMS, there's always that.

    We actually have relatively little of this, and it's pretty well run, so I'm lucky. But for those who get stuck in endless meaningless meetings, it seems that the best approach might be to do what our students do when they're feeling our classes are worthless: something else, usually involving a tech device.

  12. Three words: Elaborate Sexual Fantasies ('nuff sed)

  13. Wombat, count yer blessings. I'd love to skip, and I do accidentally miss sessions while getting real work done. Unfortunately, we are a small institution, so absentees are noted. And I wish 12 hours of sick leave would suffice...but it would only cover oh, about 1/6th. To top it all off: shittiest wifi in the universe.

    So flights of fantasy fueled by gin and chocolate seem my best options! Thanks, everyone!


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