One downside to teaching is that there are days when, in another job, I’d just stay home in bed and allow myself to be ill. But I’m not in another job. I’m a university teacher.

Today was one of those days.

My throat was in agony whenever I tried to talk, and I had to get the microphone working in order to teach.

In my morning room, I can’t tell that the mike is working, but I need to talk quietly or it won’t be long before I’m not talking at all. And when I can’t hear that it is working, I keep trying to compensate.

Then there’s the muzzy-headedness, and mistake after mistake after mistake where I just don’t line my points up very well. This is frustrating for the students; I get it. They begin to talk amongst themselves, and then I try to compete with my voice which is a painful disaster.

You know that moment when you are about to start to cry, from feeling like you are the biggest screw-up in the world and nothing you can do right now will change it, right in the middle of class, in front of the 60 students out of a hundred who bothered to show up the day after an evening exam …

I managed to channel it into irritation instead. “Look, guys, I know I stink today, and I know I’m hard to follow, but I can’t compete with you (talking while I’m talking). So make up your minds whether you are going to help me out or whether we just want to go home and don’t really care about learning this after all.”

It got better after that, but I was still wet-eyed in line to order my lunch.

The honors class in the afternoon was better, but I appealed to their mercy straight off. We laughed at a few things and did one problem with minimal talking to help save my voice. The no-talking problem … now something about that was interesting. I want to try that again.