Friday, September 09, 2005

My Junior Year: What This Professor Learned by Becoming a Student

I am currently auditing English 305: Creative Writing.

And no. I wasn't bright enough to think ahead about the project and turn it into a book.

Having said that, I am definitely learning about more than creative writing and, though I won't admit this to my students, am developing some sympathy for them.

On the first day, the professor told me that I could just go to the textbook rental place and pick up the books.

I trotted over there, begged my way in (I had forgotten my i.d.) and stood at the counter waiting for someone to help me find my books.

One sympathetic observer informed me that I needed to actually go into the stacks and find them for myself.

Of course!

Within the stacks, I sort my way through the odd organization of the books. No Dewey Decimal system for this store. Nor are they arranged by course, which would make sense to me. They are, however, organized by topic, so I wandered over PAST ECO to ENG, bumping, awkwardly, into former students who, by the look on their faces, tried to place me in this out-of-context situation.

I start gathering the (rather long) booklist only to find that the two books required for the next day's homework were, clearly, in short supply, and were no longer available.

Using my clout as professor, I inquire at the front desk.

Oh, we've ordered more. They'll be in in a couple of weeks.

I leave, happily, with most of the required books under one arm, and head back to my own office and the backlog of work waiting there for my attention.

I completely forget about a) the books and b) the homework until, literally 12:35 the next day.

This is exactly 5 minutes before class.

The other students in my group have completed their practice poems, read the readings for the day, and brought into class with them their note-taking system.

Me, I had nothing.

My sympathy abounds.

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