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Thursday, November 18, 2010

End of another week

Strange week, only two days for me (since I canceled Monday and Tuesday), and very little heavy lifting in terms of actual teaching. Next week will also be very short--only two days (Wednesday will follow a Friday schedule, so since I don't teach on Fridays, I get an extra-long Thanksgiving break--hooray!!).

Still, although I'm done teaching this week, in a way the week isn't over yet: I will be on campus tomorrow for a seminar, starting at 8:45 a.m. OK, the seminar starts at 8:45; I probably won't be there until later--but I'll be there. Professional development and all that. I've actually gotten some pretty terrific ideas from this particular series (IDEAS: I don't remember what the acronym stands for but the ideas are worth the all-caps treatment), even though I find getting to campus that early and spending a good portion of the day here on a Friday a trifle painful. I don't usually do any work on Fridays: I work on Saturday, on Sunday, but Friday is usually a day that I allow myself to have in its entirety, so even though I won't be doing what I usually consider work (not teaching, not grading, not doing class prep, not doing committee stuff), it is still work of a sort to be here, so there's a soupcon of resentment about giving up Friday for it.

And I'm getting pretty burned out, typically for this time in the semester. In fact, I'm toying with the idea of canceling the last few readings for the 101s. The students have rather have stopped caring, and now they need lots of time to work on their final projects and get ready for their final papers. I like the last readings, and I generally feel it's valuable to work on improving students' reading skills, even when the readings don't play directly into specific writing projects--but I also get tired of the fact that most of the student stop doing the readings at about this stage, so there's a perpetual struggle over that. I hope I can take a few minutes this weekend and figure how much difference canceling those assignments would make in the final calculations, for them and for me. Hmmm.

Another random bit to report: I got the retyped paper from Mr. Macho, and though the margins are now correct and the overall format is better, the font is still wrong. I called him and left a voice message saying I'd give him one more chance at it. He just called me back to thank me very much for the additional chance and to let me know when he'll leave the paper for me. I find I'm rather enjoying the transmogrifications of my relationship with this young man.

And I'm realizing again how little of the semester is left. The pressure still feels significant, but I am aware that the simple fact that the end is nigh makes the pressure less. I've got a healthy list of tasks to do in the next two weeks, but once I grind my way through the enormous stack of assignments now on my desk (received in the last two days), in terms of student work I will get to coast a little until the mad panic at the end. I hope I can stay on top of all the things I want to get cleared up before I leave in December: that's my primary goal at the moment.

However, that said, I'm not taking anything home with me tonight. Since I have to be on campus tomorrow anyway, I'll leave it all here, in a huge steaming pile on my desk, until after the seminar. Then I'll stagger out to the car, carrying far more than I have any realistic hope of getting done over what will be left of the weekend--but somehow it feels irresponsible to leave hunks of it on my desk over the weekend, as if somehow it matters where the stuff sits as I dig down the stack. But I already feel my brains shutting down for the evening, so whatever further thinking needs to be done will have to wait for the new day.

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