Monday, August 19, 2013

Be Positive and Polysyllabic

"Be positive and polysyllabic" was my favorite alliterative advice given to us on our first day of orientation. These wise words came from the impressively mustachioed mouth of Don Revell, poet and translator extraordinaire, regarding how to write grant proposals to the department.

My favorite non-alliterative advice was given to us by a member of the campus police: "Watch the hands. Hands kill."

I must admit, it was a somewhat nerve-wracking day at orientation. The head of the Student Misconduct Office talked to us about how to address troubled students. One of the campus counselors talked to us about how to address troubled students. Students that might stalk you or scream at you or threaten you. The policeman told us that, if there's a shooter in the building and you don't have time to escape, it's your responsibility to convince your students to take down the shooter should he enter the classroom. I'm not even joking. That's the protocol, because there are twenty of you and one of them. Obviously, you're supposed to escape and report the problem if at all possible. This would be an extreme last resort.

Anyway, I now think teaching is a far more dangerous job than I did this morning. By far my favorite part of the day was talking with all the Creative Writing faculty in the afternoon. And spending more time with my new cohorts, of course. I still like them.

On an unrelated note, there is now a fund for the arts created in memory of Ian Pelton, my good friend's father who died the other day. I can assure you that this is a good cause; he spent years of his life dedicated to the performing arts in Paynesville, Minnesota. Please consider donating to help ensure that his good work lives on.

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