Thursday, March 30, 2006


I have not been very inspired the last few days, as I expect my regular readers (all five of you) have noticed. This is partly because of the cold I've had, which I'm happy to say is almost gone, but also because the new semester is looming. This has sent me into the first stage of panic.

The first stage of panic is where my mind goes blank. Absolutely nothing relevant to reality happens inside my head. I cannot make myself think about work. When I try, my brain skitters around the subject. I get distracted by almost anything.

I am bracing myself for the second stage of panic, which should be starting any day now. This involves running around like a madwoman shouting, "New classes start in four days! What am I going to do? Help! Help! Help!" This is when I will get the spring-cleaning done. I am almost looking forward to this bit, because the only time I enjoy spring-cleaning is when I'm supposed to be doing something else, urgently.

The third stage of panic hits a day or two before I start back. I collect first-lesson plans like crazy, write them all up, prepare all kinds of interesting things, and fall into a black despair because I don't have time to do everything I wanted to do. Two months of inactivity stretch behind me, and I bang my head on the desk a lot and tell myself how stupid I am.

The final stage of panic is an eerie calm, which descends the night before work starts. This is chemically induced.

When I walk into my first class prepared with fifteen new lesson plans, I usually end up discarding them all and using the one I used LAST year, which worked perfectly well and is way better than any of my exciting new ones. Now and again I add something new. It is almost never something new that I prepared in advance. It is something new that occurs to me when I am facing the students. It just pops into my head, and usually works brilliantly, making me feel clever and at the same time stupid for having prepared so much unsuitable material. If I have not prepared a whole bunch of new, unsuitable material, however, nothing pops into my head, which is why I do not dare miss the third stage of panic.

So that is why I have not been blogging much. I have been in the first, blank stage of panic.

While I am waiting for the blankness to go away, here is something to keep you entertained, for, oh, around five seconds. It is a little colour by number project, for coleopterists. Do not be put off if you are not a coleopterist. It doesn't matter. I'm not a coleopterist either, and it made me giggle.


wendy said...

I think you have more than 5 regular readers...way more.

Your posts are always interesting. And thank for informing about those colioptythingy people - I never knew that was what beetle watchers were called.

Good luck with the lesson plans...may you be struck by inspiration.

She Weevil said...

I keep thinking that the Archers may be interesting for your classes to listen to, I don't know why.

It's here:

I know you don't necessarily teach English english per se but thought it might be a quirky and interesting thing to do.

Cheryl said...

Five readers, my eye teeth. You've got 14 that watch your RSS feed just on bloglines (so loads more on blogrolling, I'll bet) and the number of links to your blog picked up by Technoratis are well....
Good grief!


Good luck going back to work.

Gordon said...

Embrace the panic.

I learned, long ago, that I work better in the evening, and with a deadline looming. I DO work without a deadline but I need the pressure to focus properly.

I also learned, more recently, that if you have a good enough knowledge and passion about a topic, you can usually rely on that to get you through, and that sometime leaving things open to react and use something spur of the moment often works better than copious planning and worrying and reworking.

But that's just me.

Artistic Soul said...

Yeah, sounds like me before term starts back again. Although I usually can't sleep the night before the first class - and my panic tends to start sooner, like two weeks before the first class or so.

Badaunt said...

Wendy: Cheryl agrees. I have 14 regular readers. :-)

(And when I read your comment, I thought... struck? Or should that be stricken? Can one be stricken by inspiration? See? I'm in English teaching mode already! But why do struck and stricken seem to have such different MEANINGS? I was struck by inspiration sounds like a good thing, but I have been stricken by inspiration sounds like something I should be hospitalized for.

Cheryl: OK, maybe 15. :-)

Gordon: I find that the copious planning works, in that if I don't do it I don't get struck (stricken?) by inspiration during class. I FREQUENTLY don't use what I've planned, but if I don't plan, I tend to get stuck.

Wiccachicky: Not sleeping the night before is why I go the chemical route. ;-) Mild tranquilizors work wonders, and after the first few days I'm fine without them.

Cheryl said...

I always thought that you could only be stricken with something, not by it?
Stricken with a desire; like an illness?

Bill C said...

Strucken. Definitely strucken. As in, "The monochromatic beetle was strucken with boots."

Bill C said...

(forgot) "...chemically induced." Once again I have to explain my sudden, explosive laughing out loud for no apparent reason to other room occupants.

Badaunt said...

WITH! THAT'S IT! WITH! (How did I ever become an English teacher?)

Strucken with.

Pkchukiss said...

Did you count me in?