Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Someone Works Through Some Semester Beginning Anxiety To Finish With a Hopeful Howdy

As a grad student teacher at my university who (illegally) moonlights as an adjunct faculty member elsewhere (how does my department expect a single mom to live off of $851 per month?) I vote anxiety as the overwhelming emotion that overcomes me every time I glance at the calendar.

As to Adjunct Whore, I feel the same. My students would like nothing better than to treat me like their bitch, but one does have to establish some modicum of control, even with the slackers. At some point in the semester (about one third of the way through, every semester, without fail) I have to go to my Zen teaching place. After the novelty of the first week wears off, I realize that my students are blowing off the carefully selected readings, ignoring my painstakingly constructed syllabus, and daydreaming through the class sessions I prepare before I work on my own dissertation. I am crushed, angry, resentful. Then I have to take a weekend, drink, eat sushi, and commiserate with my adjunct fiance, and come to the Zen place.

I really like to teach. I really like what I teach. Enthusiasm is contagious (to the students who can be reached). So my attitude for the rest of the semester has to be that I will enjoy each class session because I love my subject. The students who want to learn, be my guest (dare I hope plural?). I'm happy to help them. The ones who don't? Fuck them. They're screwing themselves.

I, however, am going to have a good time, drink fine wine while I grade papers, and not have to take medication because I'm letting the anxiety eat through my stomach. Take heart. It's nearly time for spiced alcoholic cider and roast rack of lamb. Best wishes to the troops entering the trenches.