What I Learned from October 2016

I’ve been fairly vocal lately about how I felt about the month of October.  Frankly, for those of you who have been spared my diatribe, I could not wait for October to be on it’s merry way.

I freely admit that the beginning of the fall semester usually knocks me on my rear.  However, this fall was different.  I felt more in control, more composed, and more prepared.  And this is obviously where it all started to go wrong.  I got complacent.  Just as I thought I had this teaching gig finally licked, October snuck up behind me and gave me a swift kick in the tookus.  To add insult to injury, as I spun around, dazed and confused, October then punched me in the face, exclaiming “Gotcha!” before dancing on its merry way.

Now that it is finally behind me, maybe I can take a brief moment to reflect on what it taught me before happily solemnly mourning its passing.

  1. Matt the Masterful makes mistakes (what wonderful alliteration!).  He is human! (As a sub note, if you admit to making a mistake in a blog, you find out exactly how many readers you have.)
  2. There is no perfect presentation.  If you follow presentation guidelines and use little text and relevant images, your audience will want text.  If you put text in slides, they will not want you to read to them.  If you have them take notes, they can’t listen to your explanation.  If you give them the notes, why should they listen to you?  And, if you tell them at the beginning of a presentation that the workshop will not be about strategies, you will still get evaluations that ask for strategies.  It’s a no win situation for presenters.
  3. It takes a long time to get to mid-term (eight incredibly loooonnnnnggg weeks) but an impossibly short time between mid-term and final exams (eight moving very swiftly weeks).  Once again, it’s all about perspective.
  4. There is a secret group at VC.
  5. This secret group apparently has free-range chickens.
  6. Texas’ early voting process is awesome!  West Virginia didn’t have early voting and getting to the polls on election day was a challenge for an introvert (trying to accurately assess the perfect time to go to avoid the rest of the district).  I’ve already voted, so I don’t have to worry about going on the 8th.  However, now my fear is that I’m so ingrained to go on Election Day that I’ll forget I’ve already voted and be arrested for voter fraud.
  7. Don’t listen to random strangers while shopping.  With all of the craziness that is October, I completely forgot about the upcoming time change.  As I shopped last Saturday, I overheard a woman remark that we changed the clocks back the next day.  I was surprised, but elated and began picturing the extra how of rest and relaxation that I would build into my day.  Imagine my surprise Sunday morning when I awoke to the same normal time as always.  It’s this coming Sunday.  Take it from me; I looked it up.
  8. I am genuinely enjoying my classes and teaching this semester.  Maybe October wasn’t so bad after all!

See, it got me again!

I’m not sure how useful this post is for professional development this week, but I’ll let you take from it what you will and construct your own meaning.  For now, I’m sticking to

October bad.  Learning pretty.

(with apologies to Joss Whedon – Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

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