Wednesday, January 4, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons...


So I had an interesting day back at school. Classes started yesterday, but this was the first time I was encountering my new Writing for Business class--22 new and exciting students, in a brand new room, in a different building.

Now, I should tell you that I am typically a very prepared person. I like to practice presentations in the room where I will be presenting. I like to play with projectors and screens and other things I will have to use ahead of time. I like to get there early and have a look around, a habit that has saved me from a humiliating conference presentation at least once.

However.

Due to circumstances beyond my control (i.e., locks) I was unable to check out the room prior to today. So, when I arrived today I sort of stumbled in, glanced around, and started pushing buttons. I quickly discovered two strange things about my room:

Lemon 1: It has a blackboard. I came all prepared with my dry erase marker, and the room has a blackboard. I was immediately concerned about inadvertently becoming covered in chalk.

Lemon 2: It has TWO projector screens (which I'm sure is actually very cool and useful), and one projector. I unintentionally projected at the corner screen, when I was going for the center screen. I still don't know how to get the center screen.

Anyway, once I got things figured out to a workable level, I started into my "first day" spiel. Partway through this, I encountered Lemon 3. It went something like this:

Me: So the textbook for this course is--
Student: Is that book required?
Me: ...yes.
Student: It wasn't on the bookstore website.
Me: WHAT?! Does anybody have the book?
Entire Class: ...

It turns out they were right; the book is not listed, although I (thought I had) ordered it several weeks ago. So, I raced over to the bookstore after class where I was able to order the book, but I have no idea when it will arrive (Lemon 4).

And finally, Lemon 5. I am now faced with finding supplementary readings for the first few weeks, or scanning from the book. I spent most of the afternoon tracking down articles and ebooks to help me fill in the gaps.

But you know what the weird thing was today? In spite of all the lemons, I didn't lose my cool. Why not? Because most of those lemons also had a positive to them--came with a side of water and sugar, if you will.

Lemon 1: Now I don't have to remember my dry erase marker every day that I teach.

Lemon 2: Having two projector screens is going to be awesome, as soon as I figure out how to use them.

Lemon 3: Telling that story on Facebook got me a lot of great help and suggestions for dealing with the situation from my friends and peers.

Lemon 4: I'll be honest, I got nothing on this one.

Lemon 5: Even though it was time I didn't plan on spending, I'm more well-read in the subject now and I can give a better lecture with more information. In fact, I'll probably use some of the articles I found next quarter alongside the textbook.

So, the point here is that when life hands us lemons...we should do what the kitty says and keep them until we find the sweet side. Because hey, free lemons!

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