Thursday, January 17, 2008

Checking In

You know the feeling you get when you walk into a room and all conversation stops?

Today I was covering a photography class. (Yes, they still have them. They still shoot in black and white. And they still use film.) This room had the traditional darkroom setup. The teacher had broken them up into four groups. One group was processing film, the second group was printing pictures, the third group was out of the room taking pictures, and the fourth group was in the classroom doing bookwork.

I played a superficial supervisory role. I had to walk around and make sure that they weren't doing anything stupid. So, I'd go into the room where they were printing pictures. It took time for my eyes to adjust, so I pretty much stood there for a minute and watched them. And then I'd go into the room where they were processing film.

Processing film is a rather dull business. In total darkness, one must transfer the film to a small canister. Then chemicals are put into this canister. At this point the lights can be on. So, one must sit while the first chemical does its job. Then one pours that chemical out and replaces it with another (this process repeats a couple times). This takes most of a class period.

Basically, the students were sitting in a room, waiting for the moment when they had to do something. So, the teenagers spent the period in various conversations. I'm pretty sure.

See, when I'd open the door, they'd all stop talking and look at me. I'd come back ten minutes later, and they'd all be in the same spots, and the room would echo with cut off words. It's not like I was eavesdropping. I just needed to make sure that they weren't trying to burn the room down (not likely, but I had to be sure).

The looks I got! You'd think I was trying to get them into trouble or something.

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