Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The first day of school

OK, so really, the excitement of the first day of school is supposed to be all about the joy of kids in the primary grades, returning after summer vacation to meet new teachers, plus both new and old classmates. By the later elementary grades, all of the first-day hullabaloo is passé, and by middle school, the end of summer vacation is nothing to celebrate. So why is a middle-aged community-college instructor so interested?

Partly, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I look forward to the students. There’s such diversity in their backgrounds, personalities, and experiences.

This year has actually started out almost flawlessly smoothly. I was positive it wouldn’t – Murphy’s Law has always been very much in play. I thought I would be tempting Murphy by postponing my arrival back in Albuquerque and staying up at Five O’Clock Somewhere until just the night before classes were to begin. But I’d looked up the master syllabi for the courses I am teaching, and there was no change of textbook after all, so I needed to make only minor syllabus revisions that I could do without returning to the big city. All I would have to do once I got back was to change the telephone number if I’d been assigned a new office cubicle, and add in the times the classes would have reserved time in the computer lab. Then, I’d have to run off copies of my syllabi. THAT, I was sure, would be where I ran into trouble – the copier, for sure, would break down, and I’d have to go in search of a working copier.

So I headed in to work, stopping for lunch at a fast-food place on the way. There, one thing did go wrong – the “low oil” light on the dashboard of my car came on. But there was an auto parts store right next door, so I got a couple of quarts of Pennzoil (shameless plug: I’ve never used any other oil, and the only car I’ve ever had the engine give out on did so only after 270,000 miles of serious abuse, a 4-cylinder engine called upon to do V-8 duty), put one quart into the engine and kept the other as a spare, and I was on my way.

The I got to the office. The new ID card reader on the door accepted my new ID card without any trouble. I was still in the same cubicle, and I don’t have to share it with as many cubicle-mates as usual. The memo listing my classes’ computer lab reservations was waiting for me in my mailbox, and the time slots assigned are nearly perfect. To top it all off, once I’d made the final touches to my syllabi, the copier was working PERFECTLY!

It gets even better. When I checked my email, I discovered that my union has been working on my behalf. Even though I’m a part-time instructor, since I have “veteran” status, I actually qualify for sick leave! Whoa!

I keep expecting to wake up and find this has all been just a dream. Or else, to make up for all of what has been going right, something else is about to go disastrously wrong.


Blogger Pat said...

Just think of it all as TVI's part of welcoming you back home to Albuquerque for the teaching season. So, what are your students like?

Tue Aug 30, 12:42:00 PM MDT  

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