Friday, August 27, 2010

Silly Bus

A week of hectic nightmarish frantic syllabus-writing/perfecting/copying culminated in my first class yesterday. I told the 27 shiny eager freshman comp students to bring that syllabus to class every day, never lose it, my work of art. They could never understand the painstaking care I put into formatting that eight page monster. The relentless proof-reading and re-wording, not to mention planning out an entire semester's worth of readings, essays, and workshops, when I am used to a more organic blend of vision and spontaneity. Whew.

Thursday morning at 8:00, in a third floor windowed classroom bright with coastal fog, those wide-eyed teenagers could not know that I sat on my living room floor, carefully collating each 8 page packet. That at 10:00 the night before, in the warm inky moonlit, I walked downtown to Kinko's to staple each of them. That at 5:00 that morning, I woke with a heart-thump, remembering the poem that I had, in my syllabus-induced madness, forgotten to photo-copy, and that, according to the syllabus, had to be read by our next class. That I crawled out of bed at 6:52, numb with wakefulness and nerves. That I retrieved my leather teaching bag from the top shelf of the closet, poured my iced coffee into a travel mug, kissed the eye-masked M good-bye, and headed downtown, back to Kinko's. Spent three bucks on 27 copies of the “Wussy Boy Manifesto.”

There are other concerns. Will the textbook arrive by Monday, in time for them to do their first assignment? Will they have looked up the word “manifesto” in the dictionary? Is that guy really using his laptop to assuage his learning disability, or will I catch him on Face-book?

But I can relax now. First class went well. Everyone was on time, or, shockingly, even early. They raised their hands to ask questions. They nodded when I explained the difference between revision and editing. Two of them even stayed after class, to say they are excited about English 101. And, thanks to the syllabus, next week is already planned out. Too easy.


  1. I love your description of your nerves, of all of that effort and work and planning, that jangled feeling of it being so important, because it is, because it's you who are doing it. And I love the poem you picked out..."don't let me go all renaissance on you because I'll write a poem about you.."
    and the reference to his "steel-toed soul" How lucky those teenagers are, even if they don't realize it, in fact most of them won't realize it, but how lucky they are.

    September 5, 2010 10:25 AM

  2. Aaaaah Jess I love living vicariously through you! And I agree - those wide-eyed teenagers don't know how lucky they are (I'm a little jealous) or what they're in for, haha. Miss you like mad! Can't wait to see you!

  3. I wish I were one of those students! I would be the third one getting all excited about English class :-)