Somewhere in this blog, I have surely mentioned that I take a train to Graz once a week to teach a university course. It’s part of a program that helps people without high school diplomas get accepted into college (and I really love teaching it!) Over 29 years, the numbers of participants in the program/course has gone up and down. There were times when 50 people showed up in the first week. One year it was only 7. Lately, I usually have between 15 and 20 at the start, half of which are there voluntarily (meaning that they will be examined by someone other than me). Certain developments happen every year:
- The number of people in my course goes up and down for a while as the late enrollees arrive and the program dropouts depart. The number then stabilizes midyear.
- Attendance drops dramatically in the two weeks before Christmas break.
- I lose about a third of the group when they pass the exam on the first test date in February.
- As the academic year nears the end, all the students who are not tested by me start to drop away, leaving the hard core survivalists in the final weeks.
With two weeks to go, we are now at the hard core stage: I have my four remaining exam candidates who show up religiously each week and no one else.
But one thing has been new this year. The program’s current secretary (who makes the schedule and reserves the rooms) was utterly incompetent. She waited so long to do the work that all the usual course rooms were already booked. (Don’t you just hate procrastinators?!) So each week, my course meets in a different place and sometimes at a different time. This week – today – was the best. Here’s the room the secretary booked for me and my four students: