Those are the best things in life, according to Cohen the Barbarian, and I spent most of my morning taking advantage of the middle one. I have been shirking — it has been four years since my last dental checkup — so had a few hours to get a good thorough working over. My morning was spent lying back, getting x-rayed, having my teeth poked and prodded and scraped, getting the occasional metallic taste of blood, being ordered about, open wider, turn this way, bite down on this.
It was terrific. I don’t know why I don’t go more often — probably because I don’t have any pressing dental issues, and it does take a chunk of time — but a good workout at the dentist’s office is so relaxing, and I feel so mellow afterwards, in addition to having a sparkly clean tasty mouth, it’s like a spa day for me. I love the gadgets and the pointy little tools and dental chairs are incredibly comfortable, and it helps to have a bunch of competent professionals I can trust. So I’ve decided to be a responsible adult and made another appointment for the same thing in April.
And now, while I’m all loose and unstressed, it’s a good time to get the next step in my lab prep done for next semester, and finalize those syllabi. I don’t know why Cohen didn’t include a university education in his list…maybe it’s #4, right after the soft lavatory paper.
So, next term I’m teaching our introductory course, Fundamentals of Genetics, Evolution, and Development, and I’m also teaching our Genetics course. I can do these two course in my sleep, so prep is easy, except for the fact that I’m always tweaking something. The challenges I’m facing are:
Genetics is horribly oversubscribed. Our enrollments keep going up and up, and this year our required molecular biology course filled up fast (don’t panic for the students, they’ll just take another section in the fall) and everyone who couldn’t get in seems to have signed up, with my permission, for the elective Genetics course. Either that or I’m just incredibly popular.
So I’m making up extra large batches of flies, and I’m going to be making extra, unscheduled time available in the lab.
I’ve taught FunGenEvoDevo many times…but on our weird two days a week, hour and 15 minutes each schedule. This time around it’s on a three days a week, 50 minute schedule. I’m going to have to tweak my timing, but it might actually work better to hit first year students with smaller, more digestible bites.
Notice that both courses have “genetics” in the title. This sometimes confuses me: I’m supposed to give the first-years a gentle, conceptual introduction to the basic ideas of Mendelian inheritance, while in the upper level course I can hit them with the wickedly tricky problems and hard ideas. Sometime I might mix the two up, which isn’t good.
Also, so many fly lines. I now have to go up to the genetics lab with my minty clean teeth and spend a few hours setting up dozens of bottles for the first fly lab, in two weeks.