The little things are what always get left out. The odd local knowledge that becomes so mundane and ingrained you fail to notice it anymore. But often it’s those very little details that tell the more interesting story. Or help someone really understand another someone.
And that’s what’s missing from this blog. I’m hitting major highlights, but the little stuff? The day-in-day-out of becoming a young professor? Who could tell from this blog!? Not me! Not you!
What an oversight.
Some little things, in no specific order:
– I love my office. I’ve put some time and thought into its arrangement. I situated one of my desks so that it faces toward the door and has space for a student to sit across from me. My PhD advisor had a similar arrangement and it worked so well for our weekly meetings, I couldn’t fathom any other arrangement. Yet many other professors visiting my new digs commented on it – and one even changed her set up to be similar to mine. Score one for the new kid!
– Keys. I put my new keys on a lanyard, one I bought at the campus bookstore. This is so helpful because I can wear them around my neck when I go to the restroom. Why didn’t I do this before?!
– Water. Always bring water to class when teaching. If you’re stuck for a moment, you can take a drink while you think quickly. No one will be wiser (probably). Also really helpful if you get a tickle or cough. And I just get plain thirsty talking after awhile!
– Room setups for lecture rooms. You have to work with what you’ve got. And sometimes…it is not much. I teach in 3 rooms this term – each has a different set up. And one I would really love to change! I have a hearing impaired student so I have an interpreter. And I like to write on the white board as I go, using the power point mainly to show pictures or videos that emphasize the key points and as an outline to keep everything on topic. So I have a screen with the slides, a white board (that’s far too small) to write on, and an interpreter in the middle. It’s working, but it’s not ideal. My biggest complaint is the white board size. I run out of room far too quickly!
– Attire. I had envisioned buying a whole new wardrobe at Loft when I landed a professor gig. Oh the clothes! Finally I would have professional wear! Well…maybe if I’d gone R1 and landed the better-paying gig? I didn’t have the money to buy new clothes before starting. Not much anyway. Instead I went to Ross and picked up 3 new tops and 1 new pair of slacks. And a new scarf. I’m a sucker for scarves. And actually – I’m glad I didn’t buy more! It was good to have a few options to start, and then to scope out the wardrobe landscape of my peers. I recommend the same for anyone moving to a new location starting a new job. Have some basics of course – and a range of options if possible. Scope out the local scene, and then if your budget allows, fill your wardrobe according to your new surroundings. Or maybe you’re just more fashionable than I am and surroundings and peer attire matters not. Do what you will.
– Get a clicker. One of those USB things that plugs into the computer and allows you to advance slides while standing anywhere in the room. With built in laser pointer – only if your hand doesn’t shake too badly. Don’t get crazy with the laser.