Friday, August 17, 2018

The Return of Professor Staff

"Hello, I am Professor Staff," is one of my favorite ice breakers when starting off a new academic year. Some students get it, and some don't, but that's not the point. The point is you have to start with something, and it's often best to start with trying to get nervous people to laugh. At times, I've worked that into an entire stand-up routine. "What is this, a classroom or a yearbook picture?" or "Come on, I know you're out there, I can hear you withdrawing" are two of my other favorites (and there's always extra credit for anyone who knows anything about Henny Youngman).

Next week I go back into the classroom to teach college freshmen English composition courses. I enjoy my job immensely. I am only adjunct faculty, however, so that makes pay short, and pay periods awkward, but I'm not here to talk about that today. I enjoy helping students express themselves with words in ways they never thought they were capable. So after a few icebreakers, of course we start going over the syllabus, and talking about college expectations.

I've enjoyed my time off for the summer too. I'm nearly done with my honey-do list, like painting the living room. I also used a lot of time to write and submit. I also taught two summer courses, but that is a far cry from the 7 courses I am about to teach during the fall semester. I am always a bit nervous this time of year. Each new class has its own personality. I think I will continue to be nervous if I'm doing this 20 years from now. It's one of those things where if you're not nervous you're probably not doing something right.

So wish me luck, and if you didn't get the joke, adjunct faculty often appear in course catalogs as "Staff." Here's to (hopefully) another great semester for Professor Staff.

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