My classroom "Style"
-- for lack of a better word...!
To the student that has landed in my class by chance, by scheduling conflict, by someone else's glowing recommendation, by default of my filling a course marked "Staff" or some other strange twist of fate -- don't be a fatalist. If you have a problem with any of the stuff mentioned below, you should take the class with someone else at some other time. If you stay, a little tolerance for someone all-too-human will go a long way. Despite these and many other shortcomings that I have, you might still learn something!
I tend to start off class at an easy pace but I almost always go to the last minute available. This is true even with four-hour classes. Rustling of papers, closing of books, clearing of desks will only aggravate me -- don't do it.
Years of student evaluations continually reflect two comments. I'll share them not because I agree they are true but simply because they have been so consistent, even when I've worked hard to avoid their re-appearance.
Greg "jumps around a lot"
We'll, I'm active in the classroom and rarely sit at the desk, but I doubt that's what they are referring to. What some must perceive as an erratic skipping from one topic to another is probably my tendency to pull examples from many diverse fields of interest and current topics. I do this to help maintain interest in the topic at hand and also to educate students to I think they should, or might, be interested in. I know this sometimes works against my primary goals, but I guess "...I can't help it -- it's in my Nature." (Re: "The Crying Game")
Greg is unorganized
This is probably related to the first comment, especially if students do not perceive that many segues, examples, illustrations and oddball references to film, literature and art and culture are intentional. Yes, I suppose if I restricted myself to only the exact material at hand I might even be able to shave a few minutes off of each class, thus making everyone happy...
but it hasn't happened in twenty years, so don't expect it.
The other issue related to this is the structure of my courses. I do not teach courses based on a text, but work the other way 'round. I rarely will employ an anthology text in the order presented, chapter by chapter, so skipping around from chapter-to-chapter may seem haphazard. Also, I often include handouts and readings in addition to the core text material. All of this is because I am highly organized in terms of the structure and the planned delivery of a course. The appearance is often quite the opposite, however. Harried and hurried, struggling to get to class and library and photocopier, loose papers in various bags and briefcases spilling over on the desk in front of a classroom -- "type A" personalities either chuckle, or groan, or grimace. "Mea culpa."