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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Coming along

I just checked Banner: I've picked up one more student in each of next semester's electives. Turns out there are two highly recommended students registered for Nature in Lit. Oh, man, please God, let that one fly.

I've ploughed through a bunch of little bits and sherds: self-evaluations from 101 students (very interesting, always, even when annoying, as the one I commented on yesterday), write-ups and grades for most of the presentations I've seen so far (two more for the Monday class--and then I'll see two more new ones tomorrow). I had thought I'd be chipping away at grading during the class period for the short-story class, but a couple of students dropped by, and instead of just picking up their revisions and leaving, they decided to hang out and talk with me. It was very sweet, actually. One of the young women had just finished Catcher in the Rye and wanted to talk it over with me. (She hated it. I do, too--or did. I haven't read it in millennia and wonder if it might be worth rereading, in case I see something I didn't when I was younger.) (Wait, don't go all nuts on me: I loved Franny and Zooey, the collected stories, and Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters. Salinger isn't the problem.) That got us started talking about books generally. Then another young woman decided to stay, much to my surprise: she's very quiet, only started participating in class late in the semester and then minimally. She was still very quiet in the chat today, but she contributed more than I'd have expected--since, as I said, I was surprised she stayed at all. We talked about books, about movies, about reading experiences as kids, when we encountered what.... I love that kind of "shoot the shit" session with students: I wish I had time for more of that kind of thing. I wish we had a campus Quiet Space: not the food court (ick), not the library (shhhh, people working), somewhere cozy and designed to foster conversation. It would be cool to have a place to hang out, get chatting with other faculty, have students drop by just to yack, nothing as formal as office hours--and away from the freaking office. Well, it's a lovely dream.

I'd have been more worried about having "lost" that time (not a loss, at all, just not time spent getting through the final grading), but my reprieve was that I had thought I'd spend this afternoon working on adjunct schedules with Marian--and she had to reschedule. We'll be here on Friday instead, which isn't bad, even though I usually resent having to come to campus on Fridays. In this instance, it means (among other things) I can leave stuff here tomorrow evening instead of lugging it all home, and try to get as much as possible done before and after Marian and I meet, so there's less to lug home for the rest of the weekend.

So far, a grand total of seven students want papers back with comments, five from the short story class, two from 101. One of those two provided the stipulated envelope. The other did not--but I'm inclined to give him the feedback anyway, as he's one of the brightest students I've ever had, and I want to give him every ounce of boost I can. He and I intend to get together next semester just to chat: I'll look forward to that. Very interesting young man, seriously smart.

I can feel my energy draining, however, like a receding tide in time-lapse photography. My brains are being left high and dry, lie flopping fish stranded above the water line. I'm hoping my internal tides are unlike the world's and that in twelve hours I'll be riding an incoming surge of energy. I'll be home, waiting for a cleaning-service estimator (again), but it will be lovely to sit in my cozy little apartment, drinking tea while I grind away at the final final final grading.

Whew.

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