Two of my colleagues have been overseas for personal reasons this past week and they returned to find their desks and teaching plans in shambles. Or maybe everything was okay but the notes the substitutes left were vague despite being reasonably legible.
Part of the problem is we all have our own versions of shorthand that make sense to us, most of the time, but are incoherent to someone else. This is true even when we type things and print them out. Of course, because of this, my colleagues’ problems started when my colleagues left notes for their substitutes who were then forced to interpret the notes and then leave other notes that my colleagues had to interpret creating a written version the of the Rumor Game. Student A says “The train came out of the tunnel into Snow Country.” and after going down the line the last student says “Kill the chicken.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the result of group effort.
As my colleagues struggled to figure out what to do, whilst cursing those who’d left the notes, I found myself trying to interpret my own notes so that I could figure out what to do.
There was also a lot of cursing involved.
The main issue is that, depending on the amount of time I have, and my level of concern for the class, my note taking system varies wildly. On some pages they are detailed and coherent, but on others they are little more than random scratches that resemble letters but not entire words.
I finally figured out what to do, but I’m sure I won’t be able to read my notes next week and figure out what it was.