Talk talk

Over at New CC today, about four minutes before class, the electricity went out in the building I teach in.  I know it was about four minutes before class because I had been in the classroom for a while, writing notes on the board and talking to students, when the lights went out.  Also, the wall clock is wired into building electricity instead of battery operated, so it stood at four minutes before the hour for the whole class period.

So, with four minutes to go before class, how many students claimed not to have been able to print out their papers because there was no power in the computer center?  Three.  Although I may end up hearing that as a retroactive excuse later on.  For once, I’m being hardassed about it, because really, if your paper was not rolling off the printer more than four minutes before class began, that counts as “poor planning”; don’t blame it on the power outage if you’re not there with the paper at the beginning of class.  (I see that I left off the New CC syllabus the passage from my 2YC syllabi that specifically warns students that printer problems are not an excuse for late work–that’s a big issue at 2YC, where printouts are free but there are often lines for the computers.  At least I remembered to put “due at the beginning of class” on the assignment.)

Since this is a chalk-and-talk class (whiteboard marker, not chalk, of course), the actual effect on the way the class worked was negligible.  I opened up the blinds; there is plenty of natural light in this room.  And the class went reasonably well, especially considering that some of the students appeared to have that “I wrote the paper, now you want me to think and participate, too?” look.  Those were the ones who kept looking up at the dead clock on the wall, probably out of habit.  Or else they didn’t realize the power had stopped just before class, and thought that I was being so boring that I was actually causing time to run backwards. 

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