Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yeah, I'm That Professor

You know, the one who makes the same dumb joke in every class? And pretends that it's spontaneous each time? That's me. I've made my peace with it.

One characteristic of a lot of professors, I've noticed, is the habit of retelling jokes and stories, but always as if they're completely new. Which makes sense: We're required to repeat ourselves a lot. And it's much more interesting to the reader if it sounds off-the-cuff rather than painfully rehearsed, right?

Just one more thing to add to my list of endearing traits! Repetition and the pretense of cleverness!


Today I meet my seniors. Actually, I know all of them but one already, and that one is going to be absent on the first day. Why is this class making me more nervous than the others? When the students are all or mostly relative neophytes, I feel pretty confident and fun. But I go solemn and anxious when faced with a smaller group of more advanced students. I suppose the fact that I haven't had very many advanced classes yet (just one, in fact, and even that one turned out--to my incredulous surprise--to have virtually no prerequisites) might have something to do with this.

OK. Off off off.


medieval woman said...

You know - I totally just did this yesterday! I had a couple of former students in my class and I was wondering if they were on to me!

Flavia said...

I'm that professor, too.

Except--ahem!--my jokes aren't dumb.

Speaking as someone who TAed for the same lecture she took as an undergrad--with a professor she adored and thought was hilarious--I was charmed by the repetition of the faux-spontaneous jokes. I'm betting that if your students even notice, they think you just as funny (or not) as they did before; if anything, they get to feel like they're insiders, who know you and know the ropes.