(just some adjunct professor thoughts…)
Ahead of schedule for once. Ahead of my deadline of 3:50PM. Time now 3:46 and I have time to me. This feels odd, I won’t dodge. Why, ‘cause you know me, I’m that teacher that finishes grading only hours or less before class. but, here I am, in the adjunct office, with time to myself. More or less ready for next class, and celebrating this quiet, quiet, quiet time. Hear some doors out there, in the hall, as usual. Think I should do something different. Like go for a walk, or something. What I’d really like is a nap. Yeah, if only. I know so many teachers, college or high school or grammar know what this is like. This holding pattern. So far ahead of schedule that you need some kind of schedule, some more scheduling, thinking “Oh, well, okay, now what do I do?” “Well,” I say to myself, “you’re a teacher… assign yourself something.” Fine. Go outside, go for a short walk to your car, drop something off in the car, then walk back to this adjunct cell. Take pictures with phone. It may have nothing in the way of a dominant message or theme, but it will be something. Something to do, something to write about, something to share with the next class. Trying to teach myself something, that “something” being what to do with a surplus of time. Don’t think, don’t over-measure, in fact don’t measure at all! Just get out there, go for a walk, record then write. If this is my last semester teaching in an institution, as an adjunct, I need to pocket every minute of it. Have all those minutes and seconds on page, on the blog, for everyone (especially other teachers, and even more especially other adjuncts) to consider. So I’m off, out the door, to bring materials from first class to car. And, away…
After the walk, I learn that such walks cure nearly everything. Angst, anxiety, overthinking about what I’m to lecture in less than 50 minutes, what I have to do when I get home with giving the babies their baths, readying them for bed, dinner for wife and I… everything. I took pictures of the trees, a narrow path from the C Lot to the center of campus. I realize this is where I belong, this is where we teachers belong. On campus. Nothing fantastic or superficial about this stage, it’s a place of definition and understanding, both of which are established by the individual. Our own timetable, or “schedule” if you prefer that connotation. Being a teacher of English, at least as I’ve come to know it, is the more inviting of disciplines. Again, just how I’ve come to see it. Through the stories, how we interpret the stories, how we relate them to our own life and share those connections with our fellow students. I’m on a bit of a tangent, maybe. Now there’s no way I could take a nap. Too much synaptic snaps a-fire. Glad all the grades are on this printed spreadsheet. Wow, “I’m finally ahead,” I think. What could I get done if I stay ahead?