Delight Springs

Friday, August 29, 2014

On getting to class

Up until last year most of my classes were in my building, either across the hall or just one floor down. Then, the Classroom Tsar decreed that the storied and sacred Room 304 shall everafter be transformed to offices and a conference room.

Change is good. But transitions can be bumpy. The reallocation of space has meant that our classes are now distributed far and wide across our expansive campus. Consecutive far-flung classes make punctuality a challenge. Yesterday, Day 2 of the semester for my T/Th classes, it was a joke. On me.

I bike to class, and that helps trim the time significantly. It also eases the discomfort of the high-90 mid-day temperatures we've been running. But it didn't secure my timely arrival at the right classroom.

Somehow I thought I knew that my 11:20 class was in room 251 of the College of Education Building. Nope. Ha ha, silly professor! My first really big laugh of the semester, but that's not how I meant to get it.

OK, easy mistake. I'm in 253. Right?

Nope. Ha ha ha.

Wrong damn building. This is one of those academic anxiety nightmares, like remembering only on Final Exam day that you're enrolled in a class you have to pass.

No, my students were in the Business & Aerospace building, a maze of corridors and staircases and passages to nowhere (but it does have lots of cool replicas of flying machines behind glass and in wall-length murals to distract the forlorn searcher).  On Day 1 I'd circled it endlessly before finally arriving at room S272, only to discover my students unable to enter the electronically-keyed and locked classroom.

Happy ending, though, on this day. Someone had let them in, so they sat waiting stolidly for the arrival of their clearly-absent-minded eccentric (if not in fact Nutty) Professor. I told them the tale of my wayward transit, and got my third big laugh of the day.

And then I had to try and defend the claim that the "caricature" of philosophers as not adept at practical things (like, say, finding a classroom) is misdirected.

Maybe now they'll not be surprised when I spurn Platonic perfectionism next week, and begin making the case (being the case) for fallibilism. Behold, class, Exhibit A. Ecce Homo.

Well, as John McDermott always says: the nectar's in the journey. Getting there's half the fun.

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