Thursday, October 01, 2009

the wandering conference mind

Whenever I do student conferences, I tend to easily and readily fall into trances. I find myself repeating myself so often that a large portion of my consciousness tends to tune out; one year, I'm even convinced that I had an honest-to-goodness out-of-body experience, where I could watch myself giving the same bit of feedback for the 137th time.

However, my mind never completely shuts off (no matter how much I wish sometimes it would). Instead, my thoughts and observations just get very random and disjointed...more so than usual. How random? Why, I'm glad you asked:

  • When I do student conferences, I develop a love/hate relationship with my mail. I hate getting mail--it's almost always either causing me more work or just making me throw away something else--but I check it incessantly nonetheless.
  • At least two times a week, I go into the bathroom, and someone is in the stalls both taking care of business and text messaging. This is frankly a form of multitasking I can do without.
  • I've had several students come in wearing hoodies that have their last name spelled out across the if their family was a major university or something. Sadly, I managed to grow up without the DuBose name becoming a brand.
  • My students are strangely resistant to any critiques of capitalism. From them, I have learned that fun should only be the dominion of those who have money. I have also learned that Marxism, Communism, and Socialism are the same thing. Also, Hegemony is a person.
  • We, as teachers, are often led to believe that our students are of the computer saturation generation. This is far from the truth. In fact, I have been told several times in the last few days that interaction via computer is not real, because you never know the truth about people online. Apparently, no one ever lies or attempts to deceive in person. If I would've known this while single, it would've revolutionized my dating life.
  • When I have conferences, I have the 2-3 minutes of dead space between students. Normally, I would turn to my RSS feeds or to Twitter for entertainment during these periods (as there is nowhere near enough time to do anything productive). However, stuff just doesn't happen quickly enough, and my need for distraction soon outpaces the inanity I regularly visit while online. So I do things I wouldn't ordinarily do, such as view photo sets of Insane Clown Posse fans. Yes, it does get that bad.
  • Today in class, as I was shuffling through one of the articles, I realized that the scan was missing a page. While I was a little bit chagrined none of my students noticed this error, I was particularly upset that I had noticed it while reading. Yes, boys and girls, teachers can be idiots too!
  • About half the time I leave my 12:30-1:45 class, a gaggle of my students were lined up at the vending machines. Yes, there is something about my teaching style that leads people to crave junk food.
  • It never fails to raise at least one chuckle when, in my effort to demonstrate the effects of camera angle choice, I climb on top of my desk in class. It's almost worth the very real risk of ripping one's pants while climbing down.