I went to an orientation for new instructors recently. The purpose of the orientation was to acquaint us new instructors with the various policies, regulations, technological innovations, FAQs, BS, etc. The weird thing about this new instructor orientation is that I have had this job for a full year.
Among the things I learned was that "clickers" are so awesome that our bookstore sold a huge, ungodly number of them last spring alone. I did not learn what clickers are, what they do, or why I should consider adding them to my classroom repertoire. Luckily, my chair is a big fan of technology, and so I already knew quite a lot about clickers.
I also learned that my school is very proud of its association with Blackboard. I did not learn what Blackboard does, why it is better than a regular class webpage, or why I should use it. Luckily I am an online teaching veteran, and so I know a lot about Blackboard, how it is used, and how it is incredibly unreliable and super shitty.
I also learned that I should call one of two people named "Jennifer" in the event of any discrimination or harassment. Who would be harassing whom? What constitutes harassment? Should I be worried? I don't know.
I also learned that I should be engaged in student-centered teaching. What is student-centered teaching? I don't know. However, I was asked to free write about my feelings concerning student-centered teaching before any attempt was made to explain what student-centered teaching is supposed to be. Wonderful.
Now, I know that in the grand scheme of things, this is small potatoes. I know that if I ever get a tenure-track job, I will be in so many bullshit meetings that time will cease to exist and I will long for death. I know that in 5 billion years the sun will explode and vaporize all life before swallowing the earth in a ball of fire. I know this. But come on, orientation people. If you're going to get me out of bed for some stupid meeting, the least you can do is do it less than a year after I was hired and manage to convey any information whatsoever.