You’d think that once I graduated from college I wouldn’t have to deal with any awkwardness on a college campus, right? Well, wrong. I am a professor at a community college, so even 7 years after I graduated from my undergraduate school I am still making an awkward mess of myself.
Whenever I get to my class I usually stand at the teacher’s station getting everything ready for class. I am also avoiding eye contact with all of my students because I get stage fright if I watch them come in. Luckily many of the students aren’t that interested in chatting with me before class (after all, they have a whole hour and 20 mins to do that) so I am able to mentally prepare myself.
However, sometimes I’ll hear a bit of what they are talking about and I’ll randomly jump into the conversation. Usually the students are good sports about it, especially if I can give them information about what they were talking about.
Once, while I was getting ready I overheard one of the student’s conversation:”….pancakes-“
“Pancakes?” I immediately said, my head popping up from behind the computer I was working on.
The student stared at me. “Um, yeah…I had pancakes for breakfast…Do you like pancakes?”
“Love them,” I cheerfully answered and then went back to what I was doing. I heard snickers from the classroom.
Now if I am working on something and don’t see that a student has their hand raised, a student will say “Pancakes” to get my attention.
They are smart students.
Recently while walking on campus a student came up to me, looked at me, and asked “Do you know who’s been talkin’ shit about me?”
I stopped and looked at him, “What? Who are you?”
He gave me a weird look and then I heard someone behind me say, “I don’t know man.”
The guy was talking to his friend who was walking right behind me. You know when you think someone is looking at you and waving or talking to you, so you respond, and it turns out they were actually looking at the person directly behind you?
I live in fear of those situations, for obvious reasons.
Every student’s first-day fear is going into the wrong classroom and having to decide either leave the classroom (amidst giggles) or just stick it out and miss the class they are actually enrolled in. Luckily I have never walked into the wrong classroom and started teaching Freshman English to a Statistics class (yet).
However, a while back (in the middle of the semester) I was walking back with a student to our classroom. We had been to a computer lab to print off something and we talking about her assignment. I turned into our classroom, looked up at the board and saw equations written on it. One of the math teachers was lecturing the class and glanced at me before continuing on.
I could have just backed up slowly, but instead I decided to announce “This is not my classroom” as I left (scaring a few of the math students in the back row).
The student, who had apparently not followed me into the wrong classroom, was silent for a second. “That was embarrassing,” she finally remarked.
I’m pretty sure she was talking about embarrassing for me. Thank you, child.
“We’re Talking About Poop”
Thankfully the community college I work at does not have a cafeteria – I say thankfully because I’d probably gain back the Freshman 20 lbs again. I do hope that my students get to experience a college dinning hall one day after they’ve left, because it is there that your education on food really begins.
One of the students was thinking about transferring to my Alma Mater and I was telling the class about how much I enjoyed it there. The student cafeteria came up mainly because that is where my friends and I did most of our socializing (which is also why I gained so much weight in college).
“The food was not good,” I said, “but many cafeterias aren’t. It was there I learned how to figure out what to eat if I had a class right after lunch or dinner. For example, the grilled cheese sandwich. It was so good, but was a God damned colon cleanser. After you ate that you’d better be near a bathroom for the next 15mins, because when it hit – it hit. And not genitally either. It was a damn tsunami. I made that mistake in class once. It hit in the middle of a quiz and I failed that quiz. I turned it in half down, sweat running down my face, and dashed out of the room. Luckily the teacher realized my rookie mistake in regards to the grilled cheese sandwich and let me retake it after class.”
“If it made you have to go to the bathroom,” one hesitant/curious student asked, “then why’d you eat it?”
“Cause it was freaking amazing. What, you’ve never eaten something so delicious that the aftermath was totally worth it?”
He nodded wisely. “Taco Bell,” he added.
I didn’t agree, but okay. As we discussed Taco Bell a student came in late. She mouthed a “sorry”, but I (without thinking) reassured her, “Oh we haven’t started class yet. We’re talking about poop.”
She stared at me in amazement and glanced at her friend.
“It’s true,” he said.
“Awkward or Funny”
On one of my elevations a student wrote just that: “I don’t know if she’s very awkward or very funny.”
I don’t know either.