I was thinking that I was going to feel all sorts of nostalgia or regret or dismay or even ambivalence as I faced going back to work for the last time for an undetermined length of time while I concentrate on raising Jacob. However, I was spared any sort of emotional reverie by a series of unfortunate events, the result of which was one overriding thought: THANK GOODNESS this is the last time I have to do this!
It all began on Sunday afternoon, two days before classes started. I escaped the baby and went to my office to finish (read: start) my syllabus. I had my books, my papers, my sainted USB device, and a bunch of (manufactured) energy. I was ready. However, when I arrived at my office and stuck my giant industrial-sized key in the lock, it broke. That's right, the tip of the key broke right off. Fortunately, as I grabbed the door knob in a panic, the tip fell out of the lock, so I went to call public safety to have them let me into my office, where I prepped for class (absolutely not) calmly and left a frantic email for my departmental secretary saying basically "what the heck do I do now??"
Monday I wasn't at school as my mother was arriving and needed things like clean sheets on the guest bed, but I did get an email back saying the locksmith was there and my new key would be in the office on Tuesday morning and all was well. First crisis averted.
Tuesday I left Jacob in my mother's capable and vastly more entertaining hands and headed out early to do some last minute photocopying and finish one minor syllabus revision. The photocopying was almost done when Princess Minolta, as the department calls our copier, decided in a fit of pique to jam incessantly. No matter, I didn't need those last items immediately anyway, so I went off to finish the syllabus.
After letting myself into my office with my shiny new key, I put in my beloved USB device to pull up and revise the appropriate file, only to find myself staring at a screen filled with gobbledly gook interspersed with fragments of my syllabus. Hmmm.... Undaunted, I went to open Firefox to access the back-up syllabus saved online, only to find instead of a browser window, a teeny, tiny little blank dialog box opening every time I tried to launch the application. With panic setting in, I called IT and was led through a series of steps by a helpful man who was, sadly, just as baffled as I was. However, we were able to reinstall Firefox and pull up my file minus all the craziness, so I rushed through the changes and ran back to photocopy the syllabus just in time for class. Next few crises averted.
Then I got to the building in question to find my whole class sitting outside in the hall. I put my code into the (unnecessarily and aggravatingly) electronically locked door....to no avail. I tried another code and then another and then another door and then another and finally got a nearby fellow teacher to try her codes, none of which worked until finally, by some stroke of desperate luck, one of the other classrooms opened. Whew, we have a place to meet! I ushered everyone in, thinking ruefully but resignedly "respect for teacher = shot," and passed out the syllabus I had just photocopied...only to discover the second page missing in action, Princess Minolta's pique being not quite exhausted, it appeared.
We did get through class, but by the time it was over, I was so glad nothing more serious had happened to one of my students...like getting struck by lightening!
So I've been able to avoid, more or less, any deep thoughts about putting my identity as a professor on hold for a while. But I'm sure the thoughts will come soon enough, so stay tuned!