In about three hours I will be in front of 19 students in my first writing class. Tomorrow I will have FIVE classes back to back and by the end of the week, I will have met most all of my 90 students. I would say that is a LOT to deal with. I’ve done it before when I lived in Almaty, Kazakhstan when I had FIVE classes with 100 students. Those were ALL very difficult names to pronounce. By the end of the semester, I had mastered saying all of their first names and knowing one from the other. My secret was to take pictures of each class and then the next session I passed the pictures around for them to identify themselves.
Fortunately, I can go on the web and see their photo that goes with their name. I have one class where half the students are from my home town, it is my smallest class. Another class must be a LOT of football players because they are from Florida, California, one from Georgia. They will need extra help because they are on a team that doesn’t win much. As freshmen they will not be playing but tough to practice day in and day out and then lose every weekend. I knew one school in the Twin Cities that boasted about their losses and purported to be more interested in studies. One game score was really lopsided at about 96 to 4 or something outrageous like that. I think the visiting team would probably have more fans than the home team in that case. I don’t know if they still have such a bad team but their emphasis is on preparing their students for law school.
I look forward to meeting all my students, it is a different kind of student than the ones I taught ten years ago. I also won’t be having them submit their first story about their grandparents for publication as I usually do. Too much red tape regarding the consent forms that I have used for YEARS! Times are a-changing. Well, I will find the best stories and try to highlight them in some other way. Some are so very endearing and the newspaper reading audience in our town needs something lighthearted and fun to read. We are reading too many headlines these days that threaten war, outrage, lawsuits, etc. I KNOW people want to read the good things and I am used to providing that.
With so many classes and students, I won’t be writing any newspaper articles until about January of 2015. I’ll miss the positive feedback I get from people. I do all pro bono and I know it helps me sell books about my hometown. I have had some good conversations with people about things I have uncovered from the past. I hope that my students, some of them will be interested in history as well.
Better sign off to get ready for my first class of the semester. I have my big office all ready with plants and much color. Things from Ukraine, China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. It has my mark on it since I am borrowing it for the semester from another person who has another office elsewhere.