Sunday, August 24, 2008

The year begins

So, Milkshake asked me to tell a little about the start of the school year here at my institution.

That is a great idea. Here it is:

OK, it's not supposed to be this stressful, and it usually isn't. However, the summer for me has been loaded with (as I have alluded to before) the Great Crap related to an impending accreditation review for my school. That's a bit of a big deal if you are in the business of higher education. And, it's an even bigger deal for me because I'm in charge (partially) of getting everything ready. I am really ready for summer vacation fall break winter break.

OK, I'm feeling better. This is very therepeutic tharepeutic theraputic therepuetic STUPID F-ING SPELL CHECK!!! JUST TELL HOW THE F*CK TO SPELL THERAPEUTIC BEFORE I BREAK YOUR FREAKIN SILICON!!!!!

OK, sorry, I'm better now. really. honestly.
So, how does the school year start at my school?

Students move into dorms on Saturday (yesterday).
Girls spend that night figuring out which tank tops to wear during the week.
Boys spend the night trying convince dorm mates that they where the shit in high school.
Matriculation service on Sunday afternoon followed by a campus picnic.
Girls wearing tank tops meet boys who think they were the shit in high school.
Monday is orientation day. All first years report for two hours of blah, blah, blah very useful information.
After that I meet my new advisees, all of whom are probably delusional pre-meds. Oh well, a bit of Organic Chemistry should take care of that.
The rest of the day is spent by me prepping for classes.
On Tuesday, classes officially begin. Lives start to change, for better or for worse.

OK, through most of this post I have been a bit cynical, but that last sentence is true. I've been heavily involved with non-teaching activities related to academic policy during the summer. Right now, I just want to teach. I realize accreditation is important, but (here comes the cynicism again) so much of it comes down to budget. Yes, a school needs to financially stay afloat, but we get paid crap to do what we love to do and what we love to do is why the school is here. This is a place of learning and not just teaching. It's not just about the bottom line.

I am very excited to see my returning students and to meet the new ones. I can't wait to help them learn new things. I can't wait to help them see how cool the molecular level is. I can't wait to torture them with Organic nomenclature teach them about carbon.

I love teaching and I love my job. There are still sooooooooo many non-teaching things that must be done that detract from the teaching, but I still love to go to work.

Thanks Dr. Phil. I feel much better.


the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Gah, way too much Dr. Phil!

Chemgeek said...

I realize *any* Dr. Phil is too much.

Gerhard said...

I think you should definitely destroy them in Organic and make sure that they stay in Biology. Organic was my absolute favorite class (as i have mentioned before) specially the labs!!! I think it is magic what happens in the Organic lab.

I love when people don't "get" Organic because I make money (a lot) since i do private tutoring. I am kind of mean to them because i tell them "If you can't do Organic then you should re-think your choice of major because it does not get any easier than Organic". I now realize that Organic is not for everyone and even great Chemists can't do Organic or they just hate it without a reason.

Just remember that somewhere in that classroom in your Organic class you are changing somebody's life. (I wanted to clap after my Organic professor gave a lecture on Polymers, it was amazing!)

Lisa-tastrophies said...

I am jealous that you get to teach at a school where the majority of the students WANT to be there. Mine are sentenced by the court or the home school principal. Usually for gang related activity, drugs, theft, foul (and I use that term loosely) language or sexual harassment. I dream of the day I can inspire one of them to become more than a gang-banger-wannabe, but for now I will settle for keeping myself alive for another day.... And did I mention, today was the first day of class for us as well?
Have strength only 180 more class days until summer vacation.

Chemgeek said...

I have said it before (usually when I am talking about my grade school science camp) but I have a HUGE amount of respect for anyone who teaches from K-12. The effort it takes is beyond my ability.

milkshake said...

This reminds me old Soviet jokes, about questions on Radio Yerevan

Q: "When are we finally going to live a better life?"
A: "You already did"

Q: "What is the next year going to be like?"
A: "Rather average. Lot worse than the last year but a lot better than all years which will follow after."

Q: "Is it true that farmers in Tyumensk had potato harvest three weeks after the planting?"
A: "Yes it is true but they were famished."