Door Number Three
On the first day of a course you walk into the room, fiddle with the computer, pull up your "Welcome to Class" powerpoint and then stand waiting to begin. Sometimes you make a little joke and try to create a relaxed rapport. Maybe you even see a familiar face from an earlier semester and make small talk, but this isn't as easy as it used to be. Students these days are mostly buried in their palm-sized home entertainment centers.
Nobody sits waiting any longer.
Even so, I always like the moment before anything has happened. I have no idea who I'm dealing with or whether this will become a class I remember for years or am anxious to forget. It's even possible in those few, brief, anticipatory seconds to reconnect with the naïve, hopeful and ambitious professor I once was.
Something similar happens just before I grade the first set of papers. There they all are in my stack or lined up in my on-line grading box. In this moment it's still theoretically possible that a new car is waiting behind door number three (and not a goat munching hay).
The first round of initial reflection papers comes in today at 11:30, and this evening I will crack the stack and start to grade them. For some reason I keep thinking of a line from Ginsberg's A Supermarket in California.
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in a hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?