Thursday, September 16, 2004


Starting back at work on my two busiest days (Thursday and Friday) is brutal. Not that things didn't go well - they did, really. But after six weeks, and with the weather still so muggy, it was physically hard. I'm wiped out.

There was a slight hiccough at the beginning of my first class. At this university the courses are one semester but usually the same students take the second semester course, with only one or two new faces in each class. So you can imagine how I felt when I walked into my classroom and couldn't recognise anybody. Well, I sort of recognised them, which was even more confusing. They looked familiar in the way new classes do after two or three classes.

But I knew I'd been teaching this lot for a whole semester, and it was disconcerting to not be able to name anybody, or to immediately place them in my mental classification list. ('Serious.' 'Tries hard.' 'Silly.' 'Shy.' 'Baffled.' 'Nervous wreck.' 'Watch that one.' 'Don't tease.' 'Tease.' etc.)

I couldn't figure it out, and stood there staring at them, questions whizzing round my head as I tried to stay calm. The students looked concerned, too, but I thought that was because I was standing there like an idiot and staring at them as if they were aliens. I started wondering whether I'd suffered a brain injury during the vacation and not noticed. Was that possible? Was this some kind of amnesia? Or did they all have radical haircuts? I looked closely, but even under the wild hairstyles I couldn't place the faces. What on earth was going on? Did I have a whole class of new students after all? That never happened! Someone should have warned me!

Then their real teacher walked in. "Are you going to teach my class for me?" she asked, and laughed.

"Oh, I was just keeping them amused while they were waiting for you," I said airily, and went next door to my own class.

At least that explained why the students looked a bit familiar. I pass her classroom every time I go to mine, and always look in. And we sometimes visit each other to ask questions about our different varieties of English.

A bit later I remembered that I had her classroom last year. I don't know why I thought it was still mine.

My classes went well, once I found them. But I'm ridiculously tired, and I have to do it all again tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

I have a strong urge to blame it on the silk knickers again. Sincere apologies to the Man.

Badaunt said...

No silk knickers were involved in my amnesia. I would have remembered silk knickers, I'm sure.