Month: June 2011

Hanging in There

Appropriate topic for posting to the blog for the first time in ages, but I had a lesson in hanging in there today. I’m down to only 2 more classes for the Medical Ethics course I am teaching this summer, and it has been brutal. It is 4 lectures a week and the first time I have taught this course, so I’m still writing the lectures as we go.

Last night I was working on the lecture for today and hit the wonderful realization that there just wasn’t enough material to fill the class period. On top of that, yesterday’s lecture/discussion was one of my weaker ones. It focused on a lot of theory and I didn’t get a chance to bring in some more interesting and humanizing elements to it. So it fell pretty flat.

Coming off that to then find out that I don’t have enough material for today’s lecture was disheartening. Round about midnight, I really wanted to “call in sick” but knew that I couldn’t do that. I have a responsibility and the students pay good money for the course, so I need to do all I can for it. Plus course evaluations are in a couple days and that could leave a bad impression for those. 🙂

But I managed to find another article on a related topic I’ve studied before and figured out a way to tie it in, but I still had a couple doubts. Then, as with a typical night before class, I got about 4 hours of sleep and then was up at 5am to finish up my lecture notes. This is the second time I really, really wanted to just skip class, which is much more difficult when you are teaching it than when you are taking it.

As with most mornings, I woke up worrying about money, and despite being able to physically get up and out of bed easily, I am a lost always grumpy in the mornings. On the financial side, my interview last week went decent enough that they asked for a programming code sample and permission for a background/credit check. Being a business ethics professor, I felt dirty approving the credit check for employment, but whatever I gotta do, I’ll do. But until Diana or I have something else, there’s still the fact that I don’t really look forward to pay days because most all of it is already committed to bills and junk. So really I just wind up being a middleman bill paying service rather than someone earning an income. But others have it worse and I’m rambling.

Anyway, point being, this morning I was my usual grumpy self which isn’t real conducive to philosophical thinking and planning, but I trudged on. It was touch and go a few times, especially when Kalika decided to start knocking things down to get my attention. They say nonhuman animals don’t generalize well (learn something in one situation and apply it to another), but Kalika is definitely well generalized in the “I can knock random things off of all kinds of surfaces to be annoying!”

But I finished prep, taught class, and it actually went quite well. Today was more of a lecture than discussion, but most people seemed interested and I felt more animated than some of my other “flop” lectures. As a bonus, I got several to admit that Evil Un-American Socialist Health Care might be a good thing. (Actually I keep forgetting that most of these students are probably still on parents’ insurance or at most switched to university student plans. I was surprised that most of them had little idea that our health care system is the worst among developed nations, and even worse than many poor countries as well despite spending as much as the rest of the world combined. Guess when you are my age you have already seen the dark underbelly of American health care and it’s hard to remember others haven’t been denied coverage because of clerical error, or had to sort out a medical bill that arrives 2 and a half years later, or had the paranoia of no coverage.)

But I’m lecturing again. Moral of the story: Keep hanging in there. Sometimes it’s rough and you really don’t want to keep going, but just keep walking and eventually you will get through it. Today a lecture that I really, really wanted to skip turned out just fine.