November 15 Day 617: Ready to Improvise

The power went out. All the fire doors closed. And I found my way out of the MDS building by way of the emergency stairs. That was an adventure in and of itself.

I wondered how extensive the power outage was. According to Tacoma Public Utilities, the whole campus and then some.

Walking to class, I contemplated cancelling as I rely heavily on technology and technology requires power. But I decided against it. I would give an old fashioned white-board lecture and there was plenty of light to do group activities. I had two fully charged iPads and could record the lecture for those not present. It could work. The last time I truly improvised because of unforeseen circumstances, it was a great bonding-through-adversity experience for the entire class.

I opened the window shades, wrote the daily plan on the whiteboard, and asked the students to move to the naturally-lit half of the room.

We were 15 minutes into class when the announcement was made closing down the campus. I would liked to have stayed and finished as planned. I know it would have been fine. Different but fine.

I will interpret this unanticipated break as a gift of time and put it to good use. I hope my students do the same.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

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