Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Teaching when you're an introvert, take #497

I've mentioned this before, teaching is a part of my job. It's not a part of my job that I particularly expected when I went to library school, nor is it a favorite part of my job, but I like to excel at what I do (read: obsessive/compulsive) and so I always aim to prepare well, and inject some humor and personal stories to keep my teaching interesting. I always endeavor to do my best. But I can't help the fact that I don't relish teaching. Sometimes, when it goes really well, I feel joyful about it. The rest of the time? I just feel anxious about it, unsurprisingly. :)

And so today I was slated to teach yet another gigantic World Civilizations class. This is always the class each semester that I am most anxious about, and THAT, my friends, is saying something.

So I did what I always do. I prepared my lesson plan. I went through it several times. I made a few notes. I thought of appropriate examples. I did what I could to ensure a thorough lesson, but one that wouldn't put everyone to sleep.

Ten minutes prior to the start of class, I set off. It's only a few buildings away, so that was plenty of time. A few minutes later, I'm in the correct building. Except...I can't find the room. I have the room number written down, and I see rooms with neighboring numbers, but not that exact number.

Uh oh.

I poke my head into some of the other rooms. None contain the instructor I'm looking for. I hustle to a few rooms up one level in case the instructor accidentally left off a digit in his message to me. The 2 rooms I check up there have other instructors in them, too. I hustle back down, trying to battle back the sweating. I determine that this is a losing battle.

On my way, I actually locate the exact room number I'm looking for.

It's an equipment closet.

That makes it official. I am screwed.

I don't have a smartphone, so no way to check the university course schedule. And it's now minutes away from 11 am. I pace the hallway, looking paranoid. I consider my limited options:

(1) Run back to my office to check the online course schedule and then dash back, securing my place in the university as That Strange Lady Who Looks Wild Eyed And Runs Places All Akimbo. This would also have the unfortunate side effect of making me sweat EVEN MORE. Or,

(2) Approach a stranger in the hallway and ask to commandeer their mobile device to check the online course schedule, securing my place in the university as That Strange Lady Who Will Talk To You Against Your Will And Owns Outdated Technology.

Clearly, option #2 is the least vexing, albeit not exactly an option with a lot else going for it.

I spy a young woman lounging with her iPad on one of the nearby benches. I pounce.

"Excuse me, may I impose upon you?"

It's less horrifying to approach strangers when you talk as fancy as possible.

"I'm supposed to be in a class, and I seem to have the wrong room number. Would you mind checking the online course schedule for me?

Thankfully, she was very nice and accommodating. I rather wanted her to just pull up the information for me (she had a very nice iPad Mini and I didn't want to chance dropping it or otherwise clumsily damaging it), but she handed it to me like she trusted me, yikes. It took me several tries to get the right class pulled up, because I am apparently incapable of typing on a mobile device whilst panicking. Finally, I pull up the room number. As I had begun to suspect, the email from the instructor did in fact contain a typo with a missing digit. The room was one level up, and obviously wasn't one of the ones I had peeked into earlier.

I thanked my new friend and dashed off, making it into the room by 4 minutes after the hour (not that I was checking or anything).

Mortifyingly, class had already started, but I slipped in and waited for my cue. I then had to do my teaching thing while trying to recover from this unexpected stressor right beforehand. I did just fine, but that was a close one.

After class, I explained to the instructor what had happened and apologized, of course. I didn't mention that it was his email that contained the incorrect room number, I just said that I had the wrong room number, and that it took me several minutes to then determine the correct one. I thought that was very nice of me. :0 It could have been worse, I suppose.

Back in my office, I've been hibernating ever since, feeling quite emotionally spent. I think tonight is going to be a 'glass of wine upon taking off my boots' kind of evening.

Anyone else having a stressful day? Just want to soothe your Catholic Librarian? Leave me a comment!


  1. Well...as a teacher I love teaching. I taught an undergrad class one summer even though I technically had no master's. It was fun. But I know thats me.

    Hubby is stressing the possibility of teaching classes. He's even in a seminar. He told me yesterday one of their workshops was about inclusiveness and had a panel of a gay person, lesbian, and transexual. I think my eyes got big. I told him that I'd walk out. If inclusiveness doesnt include religious decenders its not inclusive.

    Dont know how you uni types handle it.

  2. Well, for starters, this introvert-teacher-librarian thinks you did awesome in the face of adversity. That was very resourceful!

    Yesterday was stressful as I rearranged my lesson plans for the millionth time and dealt with snow-crazed students who have barely seen me for class in the last three weeks. And also dealt with the aftermath of a hit-and-run. Fun times.


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