Noticing people

I'm slowly settling into a realization of just how much work teaching actually takes. The answer is basically enough that I have zero free time whatsoever. (It supposedly changes around your third year when you start really getting the hang of things. It'll be nice if I have the opportunity to find that out.)

The conclusion is that you have to keep your head up even for things as minor as walking across campus for lunch. And, now that my head is up more, I'm noticing some strange things... like the fact that everyone on campus now looks exactly like everyone 15 years ago. Perhaps it's just that the design of the Whitman sweatshirt hasn't changed, but it's kind of odd thinking "Hey! I know that guy!" and then quickly realizing that "No, no I don't." I actually think it's a sign that people look more alike than they look differently. We all have a doppelgänger out there somewhere.

On the flip side of the coin, I got a chance to really look at my students while they were taking a test yesterday. It was a long hour of doing little more than sitting, so there wasn't much else. There were a couple interesting realizations. First, I know the names of about forty of the fifty-two students in my class. Second, there are a couple of them that I'm pretty much convinced I never saw before the test. "Woah, who the frak is that?" Third, there were also a few moments of "Woah. Who the frak is that?", only the other way.


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2 thoughts on “Noticing people”

  1. Last year I got an email from my old undergrad advisor asking if I was available to apply for their open teaching position... would have been a lot of fun, but I imagine there would have been many similar moments of "deja-who".

    Not that somebody in your position could do this, but it seems like a great topic for a long-term photo project, looking at cycles in undergrad hair/clothes/etc. The lazy way to do it would be load a crapload of photos into iPhoto and then compare all the pics that iPhoto thinks are the same person... but that would only work without sunglasses or funny hair or anything, and wouldn't capture body language/posture and such.

    Anyway, happy proctoring!

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