Back to school

Friday was the first day of classes. It’s odd to start the semester on a Friday before a long weekend, but there’s something to be said for easing back into the semester routine gently rather than crash landing.

I am teaching three afternoon classes this fall: one section of Ancient Greece followed by two of World History 1. My first class of the day is on the third floor, my second on the second floor, and the last one on the first floor. Now, the farther up you go I this particular building, the longer it is since there has been any renovation or major maintenance, so I see quite a variety of different conditions of rooms. We have had a run of very hot sticky weather, so even though the air conditioning was running at full, the upper floor rooms were inhumanly hot. Just standing in front of my second class and talking (or rather yelling to be heard over the air conditioner) I had sweat streaming down my forehead. Also in that classroom someone had been writing on the chalkboard with some colored chalk that just wouldn’t properly erase from the board. Fortunately, there were chalkboards on the side walls of the room as well, so I had my students turn their desks and used one of them.

For a first day, my classes were all pretty good, plenty of talk and activity, responding both to me and to each other. But I find it takes a couple of weeks for the personality of a class to really come out so we’ll see what develops.

After classes a small group of us went out for drinks to celebrate our newest addition to the department, the South Asian specialist we hired last spring. We had a nice time chatting about classes and the start of the semester.

Friday night, hurricane Earl blew by out to sea. We didn’t see much here. There were spates of rain and some high winds, but if you didn’t know you wouldn’t have guessed it was hurricane weather as opposed to just a late summer storm. The passing of the hurricane, though, seems to have broken the spell of hot, unbearably humid weather. The past couple of days have been clear, dry and cooler. Dead leaves are starting to drift down, the nights are getting properly chilly, and while out mowing this morning I caught a few wafts of the sweet, crisp smell that means fall to me. Goodbye, summertime; it was a good one.

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