Sometimes, Good Things Happen

Well, my university classes begin today. I’ve been running around again, doing the paperwork required. I’ve got a 102 class at Delta, 2:15 pm Mondays and Wednesdays; a 206 class at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) at 1:00 pm same days; and a 102 class at ULM starting at 5:30. Some gaps in time, but still a decent schedule. As I was handling business, I made two personal sales, and the ULM bookstore agreed to carry my books as well.  I like college teaching, certainly better than secondary school teaching, but it is still HARD work. Yet, I know I’ll meet a lot of cool people, and opportunities will come my way to promote my writing. I have an office: Room # 380 in Admin. that I’m sharing with another instructor.

As I thought about the work of teaching adjunct English, I remembered a poem I wrote about the task in a Christmas past. Here it is:

Adjunct Poem:

I am an adjunct
Mr. Staff in the catalogue
An amoebae on academia’s phylogenetic tree,
No GA to help with grading,
The lowest in pay, given the most work.
It’s not easy teaching freshman composition.

It’s the holidays . . .  So
I required my students to memorize a Merle Haggard song,
“If We Make It through December,” and we write a new carol,
“I heard the bills on Christmas Day.”
After opening the university’s Christmas bonus envelope,
(Confession: I wrote it myself and stuffed it with monopoly money)
I am inspired and gather enough cans to buy a box of stovetop dressing.
Filled with holiday cheer, I told my 102 class,
“In the spirit of Christmas, I’m giving all of you D’s.”
They thought I was kidding.
One applauded.
It’s not easy teaching freshman composition.

It’s exam time,
Like Milton, I’m going blind reading final essays,
In the room, the students come and go,
Talking of Michaelangelo,
Though they think him a Ninja turtle and hold odd positions,
I must not linger, I must read their compositions.
Cave man turned his paper in today.
I wish you could have read it.  He’s
A Neanderthal straight from Golding’s Inheritors.
“Story good. Me Likum story.”
Others think and write like model citizens in a dystopian society.
If I read one more cliché-filled paper about a high school graduation,
The winning game, having a baby, or getting saved,
You’ll read of me in the Monroe Daily Disappointment, (our local newspaper)
The naked drunken man arrested while biting trees in his yard.
My New Year’s celebrations are clouded by worry of my tax return, so
In class I launch into bombast and diatribe about excessive taxation.
A student informs me he works for the IRS.
He smiles wickedly when he asks me about his grade.
Happy New Year.
It’s not easy teaching freshman composition.