Portrait of the Teacher as a Young Artist

Part One

Here he comes, walking down the nondescript hallway he has wandered down for seven years now. Here comes Dedalus Stephenson in his loafers, hair flowing behind him, and briefcase swaying back and forth in rhyme with his long strides.

Finding room 106, he looks around the walls and sees little that he has any real feeling about. The two posters on the wall have been there for a few years. They are thumb-tacked to the wall. One is slightly crooked. He thinks back to the energetic adjunct that placed them there. He wonders if that person still teaches somewhere?

Dedalus realizes he has work to do before the students arrive. He has to move the tables and chairs again. The feels lucky he can move them now as there was a time when the long tables were so heavy that he could not. Now, the lighter tables with rollers were pretty easy to maneuver into a circle like shape. Dedalus preferred to see who he was speaking to and figured that his students should have to see the people they were speaking to as well.

Moving the tables in a classroom was pretty risky. If you happened to forget to put them back in neat orderly rows, you were sure to get reprimanded. That had happened to Dedalus numerous times. He chuckled to himself. He recalled how the days of “learning spaces” had come and gone. He reminisced, how for a few short weeks one summer, there were a couple faculty who had heard about various classroom environments at some far away conference. They had come back and enthusiastically worked the administration to get some sort of permission to move the tables. That was about the time they got the tables that had rollers. Now there was a small sign tacked to the wall that says, “It is college policy to return the tables and chairs to the standard classroom arrangement.”

But this morning Dedalus has to move the tables himself. No problem. It is worth it to be able to easily see what the heck is going on in the classroom. No place to hide he likes to tell his colleagues. “Them darn students can’t be sleeping in row six if there ain’t no row six, “ he had said a hundred times when asked why he took the effort to move the tables each day.

It ain’t for everyone he mumbled to himself. The blank stares from the administration when he brought it up as a way the college might adapt, in some cases, was exactly like “wait and hope nothing catches fire” attitude they usually had.

A student walks in as Dedalus moves the last table. “Hey Bill.”

“Hello Mr. Stephenson,” Bill replies. “You get out in your canoe this weekend?”

Small talk ensued as Dedalus pulled out his laptop. He looked at the DS106 Radio sticker adhered to the top and the three Clash stickers. The laptop was his. The college of course was happy to give him one as a full time faculty, but he preferred to be able to use his own. It was after all, his. He remembered too that the first time the college had given him a machine is was one of those cheap machines for businesses. Even then he had a better machine at home. Dedalus laughed again to himself. The absurd amount of money the college spends on machines and the IT department salaries to keep them going and with all the benefits and the retirement packages! Whatever. He sighed.

A couple more students wandered in as Dedalus opened iTunes and turned on some Tim Armstrong. Well, he thought, the wifi was a nice benefit here at the college but he got the same signal strength from his S3 and when it was a hotspot for his laptop it was remarkably good. For today, he would borrow some bandwidth from his employer.

He opened a new Prezi presentation he was working on for the class. It would be a good starting point for discussions today. Dedalus rolled back his memory to PowerPoint days and wondered about the history of chalkboards and colored chalk and whiteboards and smart boards and all the licensing for the Microsoft products his college doled out over the years. PowerPoint had its place he guessed, but he felt more artistic with Prezi or a Google Doc presentation. And they were way more shareable, Dedalus liked that.

More students walk in as Tim wails, “We’re gonna dig dig dig in deep hold our sacred ground.” Dedalus agrees. He is going to hold this sacred classroom. It is a time for him to listen. A time to explore. A time to collaborate and wonder. Dedalus loves this stuff. He smiles as a few more students walk through the door.

 

 (sorry of the movement in tense and time but I just wrote and then here we go!)

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