Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ink Wells and Alarm Bells.

The school supply aisle at my local office equipment store is a bewildering place. From what I recall of my own college days (close to 20 years ago, ahem), selection was nowhere near what it is today. Back then you showed up on the first day with more or less the same binders, notebooks and writing utensils as all your mates (and then quickly proceeded to express your individuality through Napoleon-Dynamite-ish pen tattoos, teeth marks and other cool, destructive actions).

Now? Binders: skinny, fat, medium, transparent, zippy-kind, flexible spine, iPod pocket, bullet-proof. The writing utensil aisle (not “section” – a whole aisle!) which one might think would have dwindled down to a couple of pegs of plastic Bics with the proliferation of the computer, instead makes me positively swoon with its riot of colours, ink types, opacities, grips, highlighters and nib sizes. The passing of two decades seems to taunt me at every turn: “Of COURSE you should consider acid-free page protectors! Recycled paper, natch! And don’t forget an external hard drive to back up your homework!”

Or maybe I’m just feeling overly-sensitive.

After all, I’m going back to school.

Getting the correct schedule and course outline, wandering around lost trying to find my classroom, figuring out how I’m going to get everything done that needs to be done under impossible time constraints, a million new faces, all-nighters – there are some things about school that never change.

And I suppose this year, like all the years before, things will eventually fall into a natural rhythm. First-day jitters will fade away; a few faces will begin to look familiar; the cafeteria coffee will start to taste not-half-bad; the work will miraculously get done on time.

The biggest difference this time around is that I’m not a student. I’m the teacher.

“To be a teacher in the right sense is to be a learner. I am not a teacher, only a fellow student.” Soren Kierkegaard


Christina said...

And remember how important school supplies felt back then? Just the right binder, with just the right baby seal photo on it, pens with erasable ink and pencils with goofy heads instead of erasers...And protractor sets! And that moment when everything changed, and having a Shawn Cassidy lunchbox was no longer cool...

Dolce Vita said...

what are you teaching?