the best laid schemes of mice and (wo)men...*

Last semester, as I'm sure all of yous who have been following PTSD's journey through time and space remember, I taught a section of the same class I'm teaching now. Last semester's version of today's class--the one in which the students get to go to a "lab" and practice SPSS**-- was almost a disaster. There was no lab reservation made*** and no one to talk the students through SPSS-ing. At the last possible moment, probably feeling sorry for my panic, the head bloke of the lab came over and did the session. It turned out to be brilliant--fun, easy to follow and I have a sneaking suspicion that is why I ended up with nearly 1/3 of the kids using stats for their final projects.

This time around, I was prepared. I called and reconfirmed the lab reservation on Monday and once again yesterday. I made sure we had someone to talk to the students and went and talked to her yesterday. We discussed fun stats stuff and I made sure she knew what we were going to cover and what we had talked of in class. Finally, I went and checked out the room, called the AV folks to set up the projector and then only relaxed enough to panic about my BNC papers. This morning, I made sure the Instructor was in, called AV again to make sure everything was ready in the room and went off and got myself a cup of coffee.

At 12.40pm this afternoon, there was no sign of the instructor, half my class was missing and none of the telephones in the building appeared to work. The class was to start at 12.45pm. Finally, the instructor came by and we were all ready to go SPSS-ing but then the projector failed to work. We called the AV folks but to no avail. I was told, very apologetically, that the person who had checked the projector had seen a (quite helpful and very comforting, unless one actually tried to get the thing to work) sign on the table saying "This machine is working properly" and had not actually bothered to confirm whether that was the case.

Ah, the simple trusting nature of youth! The power of words!! I just wish the youth had chosen to exhibit their well-documented cynical disdain for signs posted by authority and, you know, tested the machine but, no, that had not been the case. This young person had wandered in, connected the cables, looked at the sign and wandered off in happy certainty that the projector was working. "It said so," was the response I got when I asked what had gone wrong.

In the end, I think it turned out okay. The projector still didn't work and there were no spare ones to be had. But, the Instructor was brilliant and walked around instructing students as instructors tend to do (but often don't succeed very well). I helped out as much as I could, while also getting a bit shirty at the young people who kept running in and out of the classroom and telling each other that, yes, the projector did not work. The students were alternatively amused (I hope) and horrified at having to follow vocal directions with nothing to look at on the big screen.

Next week, I am off on my train trek up to the northwest while someonenotme takes over my class. I'm rather keen on knowing how that will go. I'd recommend not planning much since planning is often overrated.

* Yes, it has not escaped my attention that I have moved from an IRA song to Robert Burns.

** Yup, stats-in-a-day. If they are fascinated by it, they can go learn more (and even take classes on it).

*** I had made a reservation but it was "accidentally dropped" from the system. Rather like a bad-smelling pear actually.


At 2/26/2007 4:45 PM, Blogger peter said...

I'm wondering how that will go too!


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