Earlier this week, I got an e-mail with the subject line "Syllabus." I was surprised to find a request from a student from long ago when I taught at Nova Southeastern University. She asked if I had a copy of the syllabus from the class that she took in the summer of 2000.
My first thought: Of course I don't have a syllabus from 20 years ago. I threw out that filing cabinet when we moved to this house in the summer of 2013. How many computers have I had since 2000? I almost typed a reply suggesting that the student reach out to the school. But then I thought, let my take a look.
I went to the Documents file on my current laptop and there was a file called "Old Computer." Sure enough, in the file labeled "Teacher Stuff," I had all my files from those years of adjunct teaching. And there was the syllabus the student needed.
I was so happy to be able to help--and I was also a bit distressed that a college writing class, clearly labeled as such, from a widely known, SACS accredited, Florida private university was not accepted by a state supported Florida community college. You shouldn't need the syllabus to accept this course. But fine, that's the world we're living in.
I thought back to the summer of 2000 and felt that kind of shock about the world we're living in now. How much has changed! We've had a Great Recession in 2008. We had the events of Sept. 11, 2001. We've had several pandemics that didn't turn out to be as problematic as they could have been, and now we have a pandemic that does.
I think of all the changes in my personal life. In the summer of 2000, I was struggling with such severe acid reflux that I would lie on the floor in agony, curled around a heating pad, waiting for the acid reducers to take effect. Now I rarely feel any acid flares, and when I do, they're minor. Then I was driving many miles from adjunct teaching job to adjunct teaching job. Now I'm an administrator, a life path I wouldn't have foreseen.
I'm still writing poetry, like I did then. But I've adopted new practices, like journaling/sketching with my Copic markers. I have made several full size quilts.
I could go on and on like this. But now there is work to be done in my current job. First up, the daily temperature recording--another entry in the list of tasks I never thought would be part of my working life.
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