The Next Best Thing

The next best thing to having children has to be having students. The best-best thing is that you never need to change their diapers! Although college students will attempt to fertilize you from time to time, it is usually with words and not with actual natural organic matter.

I had a good first day. I only forgot a few little things, and you know what? Probably best not to do everything at once.

I got to class early enough to get the computer setup and ready, then, even in my big class, I had plenty of time to walk around and greet (with a handshake) everyone who was there a few minutes early and give them 4×6 inch note cards for the getting-to-know-you assignment. That sort of personal attention really can make a difference, and greeting about 75 of my 100 students got done in 10 minutes before class.

Most of the students are signed up for Piazza, and they’ve already been asking and answering questions there. Seeing good community spirit develop so quickly always warms my heart. And there’s an added benefit that this will hopefully reduce the clutter in my inbox, in particular, minimizing the number of times I have to intervene and help out with logistics and straightforward questions. I love working with students, but it is easy to get overwhelmed with email asking the same question over and over again.

Lots of students seemed happy to meet me and happy to be there. A happy, productive environment is definitely one of my goals since it makes learning easier. We’ll see how we fare after the first exam.

I felt like my big message for them for the day was 90% of success is showing up on-time and prepared for whatever activity it is you are about to undertake. Be prepared, be on time, do the work that is in front of you to do, and let the rest take care of itself.