Despite My Best Efforts (Or Maybe Because Of Them), I Have Become The Absent-Minded Professor

I like to create a welcoming atmosphere on the first day of class.

The nervousness is palpable, especially for those who already looked at the syllabus. I can see the "Syllabus Shock" in their eyes--it's a byproduct of the "Impostor Syndrome."
"There is no WAY that I can read all of this!"  
"How many essays do I have to write???"  
"This will be the semester that crushes me."  
"This guy's policies are criminally insane."
I try to calm the waters right away, to let them know that we have fifteen weeks to work through this and that I am not nearly as tyrannical as my syllabus makes me seem.

So I always arrive early, trying to be the first in the classroom. I pull up my favorite Pandora station to have some music playing in the background. And I position myself at the door so that I can greet each person with a handshake, a smile, and some pleasantries.

This was my plan on Tuesday, as I confidently strode off to my 11:00 AM class. And everything was unfolding according to the plan... until it wasn't.

When I arrived, I noticed that some students were already seated. I also noticed that their names were not on my roster. Alas, they were not my students and--worse yet--this was not my class.

GAAARRRRRRR!!!! The dreaded "scheduling mix up" had happened to me! What kind of god allows this to evil to exist!?!?!?!

I scrambled to check on some other classrooms. Maybe the building name got mixed up. Nope. It's time to go to the Registrar.

It was here when, finally, I discovered the problem... My class was scheduled for 1:15 PM. Not 11:00 AM.

I try hard not to live up to the stereotype of the Absent-Minded Professor. I really do. But stuff like this doesn't help.

Additionally, this epic fail was one of many absent-minded moments since returning from my sabbatical. Heck, for a a few hours on Thursday morning I thought it was Friday. These are, I suppose, the occupational hazards of being a professor, which when compared to the other options in the world isn't all that bad.

At least I came to class on Tuesday with a good story. Nothing says "welcome to my class" like admitting that I can't read a schedule.


  1. Coulda been worse. You could've arrived at 1:15 for an 11:00 class... (My first day on the job was less Absent Minded Professor and more Inspector Clouseau: I tripped over the threshold and fell with enough force that I slid the ENTIRE length of the first row. I smashed my cell phone; scattered the syllabi and pop quizzes in a spectacular cloud of paper; and tore both my nylons and skirt. THIS girl knows how to make an entrance.)

  2. "spectacular cloud of paper." Still has me chuckling.... While we're confessing first day mishaps, right before the FIRST class I ever taught, I was washing my hands and the faucet sprayed water all over the front of my pants. I had to spend the first part of the class trying to convince the 60ish people that I did not suffer from urinary incontinence. I'm not sure they believed me.


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