Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Downside of my Quirky Summer Workplace

During the school year I am a cog in a giant math machine. We churn though thousands of students a semester. Even though only dozens of those appear in my classes, most of them are fairly interchangeable parts in this massive educational process. When I write about the follies of a freshman, it's hard to pin down the identity of the student. Even if you worked in my department and had a copy of my class lists, you'd still be unsure who I'm talking about.

Most of my students are not very interesting or engaging. There are a few exceptions, like my independent study student. He's completely crazy, which is why I agreed to work with him. A more awesome clueless freshman has never walked into my classroom. Unlike the rest of them, he will grow out of cluelessness as he becomes educated. He's so overscheduled with an overload of classes and a full calendar of wholesome and broadening events that he should be fine in just a few years. Plus, I need more minions to do my bidding. But: independent study student is the exception, not the rule. And since I have just one of them, you could probably figure out who he is without much trouble. He's the guy spinning poi on the lawn of the math building. His favorite color is also purple. The exceptions are awesome, and I love having them in class. But they're a small enough number that I'm left with plenty to write about.

In any event, things are very different here.

I'm surrounded by unique snowflakes. Individuals so distinct that they are instantly recognizeable if I sketch out just a little bit of their stories. The good things that I have to say about them don't seem very readable. And the more peculiar things that they do? Not sure if they want that on the internet. I may have poor judgement, but not that poor. Sure, a few of the people around here read the blog, and I could write about them, but I'm not sure what to say and how to limit myself to a few minor recurring characters.

Just a touch over two weeks until I pack up and then head back to my regular life and all that entails. I'll either figure out how to tell the little stories over the next 18 days, or else you will have to wait until I go home and have to attend the meeting about meetings.