New Wineskins, Same-old Rotgut

For the past ten years I have taught the senior capstone either twice a week in 80-minute sessions or at nights with a leisurely two and a half hours in which to fit all of my familiar gimmicks.  This semester, however, and for reasons too complicated to go into, I am teaching a single section in the three times a week 50 minute version.

Talk about messing with a man's timing!  Senior capstone is a course I could teach backward, upside down or in Pig Latin, and without missing a beat.  But simply repackage it into smaller boxes and I'm a stumble-bum.  I have no feel for how long anything will take.  Worse, I feel like I am constantly rushing.

In fact, everything about this new semester seems disorienting.  I had to change offices over the summer.  Before I was so tucked away in an empty corner of the college that colleagues rarely dropped by and my students needed a topographical map to find me.  Now I'm on a well-traveled hallway and find that all manner of people stop to chat on their way in and out of the building. 

The college has also set an all-time enrollment record (second largest first-year class in its history).  Tuesday, while walking across campus at 11:00 am, the place almost felt like a big university.  The streets were crowded with rushing professors and students; the bell on the bell tower was even chiming away.  This semester, too, I'm in classrooms I have never taught in before.  Something has changed.   Not sure what, though.  Maybe it's just all the new faces.  Last week, during the all school opening meeting, I counted the number of people in the room who were here when I arrived 21 years ago. 

For the first time, that number was in the single digits. 


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