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I welcome students readers to this blog. However, be aware that, although I do not use anyone's actual name, the descriptions of behaviors and conversations are not disguised. This is a space in which I may rant, vent, and otherwise express responses that I would do my best to mask or at least tone down in professional interactions with students. This is my personal, gloves off, no holds barred, direct from the gut expression of what it feels like to do my job. If you think you might be hurt or offended or upset by that, read no further. The person I'm ranting about could be you.


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Monday, January 31, 2011

"Miniature Disasters and Minor Catastrophes"

The lyrics from that K.T. Tunstall song keep going through my head. They're not quite apropos (nothing truly disastrous or catastrophic, and certainly nothing to bring me to my knees, as her song says), but the next few weeks are going to be a bit of a scramble on all sorts of fronts.

The early Monday/Thursday class is still, um, interesting. Had 18 students there today (out of 28 on the roster), was missing three I thought were likely to be among the best. One e-mailed to explain that she was sick; the others, nothing. I'm only concerned because I've changed around the assignment schedule for the next few weeks--and because we went over the first paper assignment today. However, dammit all to hell, I forgot to go over the assignment they need to do for Thursday. Well, I sent them an e-mail about it (follow-up to the e-mail that sent them the assignment itself), and they can either check their e-mail and follow instructions or not. (For most of them, I'm guessing not, but that'll be a good lesson for them to learn.) I'm starting to learn who the students are who will have intelligent things to say about the readings: Thursday should be productive in terms of their being able to get into a lot more conversation. Now they have the paper assignment, they will be paying attention to the stories in a whole new way.

The second class of the day went somewhat better (although one maddening young man stayed after class to ask me questions as if he'd never set foot in the room before--and he's been there every class and said, in our little name game, that he's smart. Precious little evidence of that on hand at the moment.) For the nonce, anyway, I'm getting more consistent attendance from more of the students on the roster, and that helps.

Over the weekend I got one and a half sections worth of first assignments marked, but I didn't return them to that first class: too many other things going on. Now I've collected a first batch of reading journals from each class, so the steaming piles of stuff to go through are already starting to build. And yet (oh, how tired you all must get of reading this), I'm out of gas for today. I got back from the second class and did a lot of organizational stuff: preparing assignments for the new syllabus, photocopying, making sure I've got copies of all the handouts in all the class folders (and I just interrupted myself there, as I realized there is yet another handout I want to go over with the students next week, and I hadn't pulled it out to be copied). That was all necessary just to feel like I'm ready for the changes in the syllabus.

The main change to the assignments is that I am not going to do the individual conferencing that I've done in the past. I think I mentioned that something was going to have to give, because of the snow days and consequent loss of time to discuss the stories and general stuff about paper writing--and that was what went. But I'm very interested to see how my new plan works. Instead of the conferences, the students are going to start working on their revisions in class, before they get their marked papers back from me. Two things about this are relatively exciting to me. One, they are given a lot more responsibility for evaluating their own work, without relying on me--and they will have to begin right there in class, forcing them to get an early start. The second is that I think it will be very helpful for them to see where their evaluation of what needs to happen and mine coincide--and where there is a divergence.

I don't know what to expect in terms of actual results from this, but as I was thinking about this over the last few days, I realized that when I do the individual conferences, although the students seem to understand what they need to do, their follow-through is often quite disappointing. I'm not sure this approach will make any appreciable difference either way, but it does allow me to experiment with a different method. One semester will not provide sufficient data about relative effectiveness, but at least I'll know whether I like this structure any better than the one I've been using for the last number of years.

I have to do a little life-maintenance this evening, errands and so on, and I'm still aiming to stay on this early schedule (my body seems to be gradually adjusting, even if my psyche still yearns for my late nights of reading and whatever). That means that I intend to be up at 5:30 again tomorrow, in to the office by 8:30, which gives me at least 3 hours--more if I bail on my committee meeting--in which to chunk through the stuff I want to have done for tomorrow's classes. The main thing is to get reading journals back to the 229 students: they need to know what they're doing right (and wrong) so they can begin improving--if they want to. Anything beyond that, great. And then Wednesday I have to be in early to meet a former student who wants letters of recommendation (and deserves them), and after I meet with her, I'll have time to chunk through until my 12:30 class, and then after class, more of the same until my brains seize up and it's time to go have drinks with colleagues.

I do this a lot, trying to picture how each day will work, thinking several days down the line, trying always to stay just half a step ahead of whatever is coming at me next....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Snow in the works

It's sort of like having a spanner in the works: now I'm even more unhappy with myself that we didn't discuss at least one story in the first classes of this week. NCC hasn't canceled classes today, but I'm canceling mine: the roads are treacherous, and despite the fact that I was inch, inch, inching along to get here, I was in one near fender-bender and had a couple of other scary moments when the car started to fish-tail. In their infinite wisdom, the administration has decided to postpone the start of classes tomorrow, however, and that means another missed class for me. Those two classes are going to have a hell of a rough week next week, trying to get all the stories adequately discussed before they have to write their papers.

Ah well.

Anyway, I'm about to put all the assignments to be marked in a bag, along with my beautiful, wonderful editor's desk, let the office know I've canceled my class, and inch, inch, inch my way home. I'm not going on the highway this time: seeing how people were driving scared the hell out of me, and I'd prefer to be on roads where even the idiots who want to go the speed limit can't be going all that fast. And won't it be lovely to be home, in my "soft clothes" (as Bonnie used to call them), drinking hot beverages and marking papers with kitties purring at my feet. And because of the delayed start, I don't even have to get up super early tomorrow to get dug out in time to get to class. Lovely.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Not half bad

Despite a night of grinding insomnia and a relatively long day today, I'm pretty happy with how the classes went, especially Native American Lit (229). The assignment they have to do for Thursday can be daunting, so I went over it with them carefully, reassuring them that it was within their grasp--and that confusion is OK, should it occur. (Having said that, I now remember one of the seminars I went to about teaching practices, in which the presenter said that if you tell students you expect them to be confused, they will be. Oops. I have to find a way to let them know that I "expect" them to be able to work through the material beautifully while still making them feel comfortable if, in fact, they don't. I'll have to kick that around for a while until I find phrasing that might work.) In any event, I think they feel like they can do the assignment, which is the main thing.

Even though there were only ten students in the room, I put them in groups (three, three, and four) to go over the stories we read. Two students were there for the first time today (and I'll meet a few more in two of my other classes, tomorrow and Thursday). One of the new souls I think has at least a chance of getting caught up. The other, I'm not as hopeful. But the students who've been there all along were terrific at getting the new students up to speed--and at working through the stories in general. We had a great discussion about the first of the stories, and could have gone on a great deal longer. I love when a class runs out of time before it runs out of discussion.

And I already know all their names. Well, OK, ten students, not so hard, but I'm happy that I could call on them by name right away. I will have to do my dopey ice-breaker name thing in the 102s, as there are a lot more students in those. Still, within the next week or so, I should know everyone, name and face together.

And I already know a few names from today's 102. The class was pretty much as I anticipated (though one student is so aggressive in asking for clarifications that he doesn't hear me saying "you will ask those questions and look for answers collaboratively with your group"--even after the fourth repetition). I let them go way early--and realize, now, that I need to button up my syllabi in the future. My reading journal forms used to be a lot more complicated and confusing, so I set aside a class period to help students understand how to do them. Now I realize that the form is pretty damned easy (for anyone who is paying attention, Mr. Aggressive being a notable exception), so I really should have them read the first story and turn in the reading journal right away. Tomorrow and Thursday, we're going to have our work cut out for us, going over both stories in one class: one of them is bound to get short shrift.

My first impression of this section is that it's a very odd mix: some of the students are bright and together and with it. Others are so much dead wood (and the sooner I can prune them away, the better). The gap in the middle seems wider than it does with the other sections I've got--and my memory tells me (perhaps incorrectly, but still) that this is typical of classes during this particular time slot. Which is one more reason why I'm glad I won't be teaching in it next semester.

On a "normal" Tuesday evening, I'd stay here, working, until the main office closes at 7 (fulfilling my duties as evening assistant chairperson), and then I'd head off to dance class. Tonight, I'm half wired (the usual "I just finished teaching" energy jolt) and ninety percent pummeled with lack of sleep. (And yes, I know that adds up to more than 100 percent. That much math I can do.) I thought maybe the energy burst would take me through rereading the critical material I'll be teaching on Thursday with 229 (it is dense, and honestly, I tend to forget some of the key points, though I know they're crucial)--but when I tried to read it, I realized that although my eyes were taking in the words, the words weren't registering in any meaningful way with my brain.

For those of you who are interested, the critical material in question is chapters four and five of Vine Deloria Jr.'s God Is Red. I confess, shamefacedly, that I've not read the entire book--but what I have read is rich, rich stuff, and very helpful to get students to shake up their Eurocentric ideas of culture.

In any event, I'm not worried about not being able to do that prep tonight. I plan to go to bed as early as I can and get up at 6 tomorrow, even though I don't have to be "on" until my one and only class at 12:30. That gives me time for a good whack in the morning (and keeps me on the early schedule I'm trying to establish)--and with luck I'll have enough juice to also get in another good whack after class is over, maybe even all the way up until tomorrow's 7:30 dance class.

But that's tomorrow, and we know what Scarlett says about tomorrow.

Monday, January 24, 2011

whoof

So that 5:30 alarm was a bit grim--but it was lovely to notice that the days are already perceptibly longer: I can turn the lights off earlier than I was able to a few short weeks ago. I find, overall, this early schedule is strange for me: in my usual mode, I'm just gearing up to work best by the late afternoon, yet here it is, not quite 3 p.m., and not only am I finished with my official day, I'm propping my eyelids open trying to keep working. I know the secret is to get to bed earlier, but I resist that like mad. Bed at 9:30? But the day is yet young!

Yes, well.

I was also amused to note that, between classes, when I sat down to start reading and marking the first assignment from my students (a little self-evaluation essay, no big deal), my left eyelid immediately started to twitch. Something you don't want to look at there, Professor? Christ, I feel like I was just doing this 15 minutes ago: where was that "break" that was supposed to refresh me and bring me into this work with that delusional optimism I'm used to from semesters past?

The strange bifurcated Monday/Thursday class is not shaping up very well. I had a couple of students today who were not there on Thursday but was missing many more. That's the section that's supposed to have 28 in it: I don't think I've seen 20 all at once yet. I'll be curious to see how this shapes up over the next few weeks. And I got the disappointing news that we can't have a room to call our own: we're going to bounce between the two rooms all semester. However, I am seriously considering taking pictures of the icky Thursday room and sending them off to the campus paper as a scandalous example of crappy care for the student environment. It really is indicative of a gross disregard for the learning process to mandate we conduct a class in a room that feels like a shit warehouse.

Most of the students from the other section were there today (they all were there on Wednesday): only a few were missing , and I suspect they're gone for good (and I'm just as pleased if they are). Officially I have 24 on my roster; unofficially there are 26 who think they are attending the class. Realistically, I bet I end up with about 22 to start, with the usual attrition as the semester progresses.

On a nice note--so far anyway--I'd say their writing is not half bad: more complete sentences than not, not a lot of truly frightening sentence-level errors. Of course they're wildly blowing smoke at this stage, wanting to please me by telling me how much they want to learn to love reading and writing, how certain they are that their lives will be deeply enriched by their experiences in English 102. Oh, yes, all right, dear hearts, it's sweet of you to pretend, but we'll see how you feel when you have to revise that first paper.

I let both classes go way early again. I know I probably "should" be a great deal more draconian about making them understand that they need to be prepared from jump street (you didn't pick up your reader? Fine: that's an absence for you)--but I don't feel like fighting with them. I made it a little easy for the ones who haven't gotten on the ball yet, and didn't make life difficult for the ones who have. Actually, thinking about it, I may adopt a more laissez-faire attitude in general: I don't need to get on their cases about doing the work because if they don't, they'll simply flunk (and piss off their classmates along the way, witness Mr. Macho last semester). It's easier on me if I am less vigilant--and it does make them either step up to the plate or (to mix a metaphor) fall by the wayside: the responsibility needs to be theirs, not mine.

Tomorrow will be a busy day. I've got a departmental Assessment Committee meeting at 10, then a small break (no regular committee meeting, thank God), then P&B and my two classes back to back to back. It will be great if I have the energy to reread the stories for the Native American Lit class before I meet with them at 2:30, but if not, no harm no foul: I've taught those stories a zillion times, and the main thing is what the students see and ask. Tomorrow's 102 will be very much like today's.

And right now, the only real questions I have are, which night is best to go out for dinner with Paul and which dance classes do I most want to attend? Anything else can wait until tomorrow morning, bright and early.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I am rather amazed at how much I managed to get taken care of, despite the busy schedule. Today was not a representative Thursday, as all of my classes only went about 45 minutes (still too early for the serious work to get rolling), and I didn't have a committee meeting. But on sober consideration, I think it will be a coin-toss which day is the more wearing, Tuesdays or Thursdays. Despite the long hours on Thursdays, they may end up being less draining than Tuesdays, which will be compact but contain little or no breathing room. It all depends on committee meetings, when they fall and how often. I'm bailing on more and more committees--and may give up even more if I end up taking on the liaison position I've been offered with ASLE (the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, the international flagship organization for my field of study). I need to think carefully about what the duties would entail (I've read over the information sheet but I'm still not entirely clear about what's called for): I don't want to take it on if I won't do a good job, or if it would add significantly to my stress levels. On the other hand, it would look terrific for promotion (and yes, I'm already thinking about that, even though it's six years down the road). And I have a hunch it might be more interesting than the routine campus committee work. Hmmmm.

But today, as I said, was productive--and my only cause for bitching is that my body still isn't 100% healthy. Really, in terms of what I did, it was an easy day.

I met with the final section of 102 this morning: only a little over half the students were there, and this may be a problem for a while. The class not only is on a weird grid (9:30 on Monday, 10:00 on Thursday), it also meets in two different classrooms. I've put in a request for us to be shifted into one room that we can make our home (it's hard enough to keep on top of the shifting time), but that may not be possible--and if it is, will certainly take several weeks to accomplish. The room we were in today was far from congenial. There are big, heavy plastic shades on the windows that have been broken so they won't roll up. (I rolled one up by hand, just to let a little sunlight in.) There are two broken overhead projectors cluttering up the place, along with other miscellaneous bits of defunct office furniture: it looks a bit like someone thought it should be a junk repository and then forgot that decision and scheduled classes in it. Plus it's a long, narrow room, so I feel like I can't quite see the students in the back, and it's difficult to move around. I took a look at the room we'll be in on Monday: it's difficult to get to (the front half of the second floor is sealed off from access, so one needs to trundle to the back of the building to go upstairs)--but the room itself is much nicer. It will be interesting to see if the change in venue does anything to the students' responses. (They seemed pretty lumpy this morning.)

The other two classes that met today are on a regular Tues/Thurs grid--and I got a few new students in each one, lost a few in each one (or so it seems). Interesting moment: I was in the main office, stapling paper assignments (as the copiers are out of staples--and apparently out of hope, too, as they break down continually; I can sort of relate). In walked a student who had shown up for my 102 for the first time today--about 30 minutes late at that. Not terribly to my surprise, she wanted to get into someone else's section. I was perfectly cheerful about that, directed her to the office staff who might be able to help her, and once I finished with my stapling, I said, "I hope the change of section works out for you, but if not, we'll make things work, OK?" She looked utterly startled but gratified. No skin off my nose either way.

In a similar moment, as I was entering one of the class buildings earlier this week, I saw a student from last semester--the one who somehow thought he deserved an A even though none of his papers had gotten anything higher than a B. I said hello, cheerfully, and he responded--then I saw his face change when it landed who I was. I have a sneaking suspicion he may have made a rude gesture or comment behind my back: I know he dislikes me pretty intensely right now--and I did hear the young woman he was talking to laugh and say something in response to him after I passed by. Oh, whatever. Maybe he blew me a kiss.

But now, I can let the weekend begin. Yes, I do intend to go out for dinner (though I've not yet decided where). I have a little work to do over the weekend, prepping at least one assignment (more if I can), but mostly I can just rest on the laurels of having gotten through the first week with my faculties intact. I'm taking a break from reading Barbara Kingsolver's Lacuna (lovely but strangely scratchy for me: I have to read it in doses) and have re-embarked on Dombey and Son, my favorite Dickens novel. Apart from shoveling out tomorrow morning's snow well enough to get to a doctor's appointment in the early afternoon, I look forward to essentially camping out on the sofa, reading and drinking massive quantities of tea. Maybe by Monday I'll have this hurkey-furkey kicked for good and will be able to pole-vault myself into my classes with joyful abandon. We'll see.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Another down

Tired, cranky, so this will be brief. Got some papers organized, "to-do" things crossed off the list (asking for a library day for the 102s, asking for class e-mail lists), didn't get everything done that I intended to but enough. Primary impression from today's class: enough desks for 22 students, and 25 in the room--or actually, 24, because one showed up very late, and when I told her she could look for an empty desk in another classroom, apparently she assumed I meant she should sit in the other room, rather than grab the desk and bring it back with her: I didn't see her again. Well, either she'll show up on Monday or she won't. On a brighter note, there's one lovely student from last semester's 101 in this 102 section: I like her; she smiles at my bad jokes.

I just filled out the grid we submit to the powers that be (so, what, they can check up on us to see if we're actually where we're supposed to be? I don't quite know what the form accomplishes, especially as our schedules are on Banner). Made me realize that Thursdays are going to be far and away the hardest day of my week. Interesting to end the week with such a humongous day: I frequently treat myself to dinner out on Thursdays anyway, so I'm curious to discover if that intensifies or if I crawl home (metaphorically) and collapse instead. I expect I'll be wired for sound, too wound up to know how exhausted I am, which means lots of dinners out.

But I'm done for today. I could (maybe even should) stay and do more work, getting my feet clear for next week, but I can't quite bring myself to do it. It's incredibly early, but I'm going home to try to shake off this crappy mood. Please heaven I'll wake up tomorrow, bright and early, feeling if not chipper then at least smoothed out.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One down, 59 to go...

Met with two of the four classes today: Native American Lit (herein after 229, for ease of writing) and one of the 102s.

The registration for 229 has been interesting. All weekend, the class count stood at 11: that's a tricky number, as without sufficient critical mass of good minds, it can lead to a class that lies on the floor like a comatose elephant but without the charm. When the critical mass is there, 11 can be great fun: a "senior seminar" more than a sophomore lit class. Today, the numbers suddenly jumped to 14--and then fell back to 13: one young woman sat through most of my discussion of the syllabus, then packed up, returned the syllabus to me, and left. No clue why, but I certainly would rather she made up her mind early about it. One of the remaining young women stayed after class and asked me what MLK meant (um, MLA?). I tried to explain but she was utterly baffled. I finally suggested that before writing her first paper she either see me or get to the Writing Center--but she swears she's never heard anything about it at all, ever. That could be true, or she could just have absorbed so little that even those initials didn't stick in her memory. In any case, given that start, her chances for success in the course are not a good bet. Still, a couple of the other students seem bright, interested, curious--and were making fine contributions to the class discussion. We'll see how this shakes out.

The 102 was interesting in that half the class showed up late--some significantly late. One young man showed up at 4:50 (the class starts at 4) and was puzzled to find only me there, packing up to go. He thought class started at 4:30 (and still would have been 20 minutes late, ahem). Normally his confusion over the start time would give me cause for concern, but he seemed relatively sharp as I quickly went over the syllabus with him. One never knows, of course: I've had high hopes for students who ended up being a lot less on the ball than first impressions would suggest--and vice versa. The mantra arises again: we'll see.

I'm still buried in unsorted/unphotocopied/unfixed assignments of all stripes: I'd hoped to get more done this morning before my class (which wasn't until 2:30), but the scheduling committee had to meet one last time to double-triple-quadruple check the schedules we did last week (and good thing we did, as we found a couple of errors: we always do--and we always miss several more, too). But given what I didn't accomplish before class, I was very happy that the office was open tonight so I could do a little more copying when it's not so busy. But of course I caught several embarrassing blunders on my 102 syllabi--AFTER having copied them. So I'll be doing a fair amount of correcting by hand (rather than wasting all the paper to copy corrected versions)--though I did make the changes before copying the last of the 102 syllabi. Errors haven't cropped up yet on the syllabus for 229, but they're there: trust me, they're there.

Tomorrow I don't have class until 2:00, but I still intend to get up early. I caved a teensy bit this morning: I'd told myself I'd simply get into a routine of getting up at 6, even 5:30 (which will give me a little more gear-up time on Mondays, when my first class starts at 9:30)--but today I let myself sleep until 7. Funny: that used to be my usual time, and I thought of it as riding on the borderline of decency. Now, it seems late. The hard part is getting myself to wind down and get to bed early enough that I can get a reasonable amount of sleep before that 6 (or 5:30) alarm.

And since I'm still worn out and hacking from whatever hurkey-furkey I got over the break, I need my sleep. That said, I'm going to fold my tents for tonight and leave everything in steaming, chaotic piles, to be organized and prioritized tomorrow. I need to organize my bookshelves, too: they're getting frighteningly chaotic, and if I don't sort things out, I may be sucked into a maelstrom of papers and books that have simply been shoved in that general direction, willy-nilly.

But tomorrow, tomorrow. (And Mr. Rogers starts singing in my head: "Tomorrow, tomorrow, we'll start the day tomorrow with a smile for you...." Aaaaaahhhhhhhh! Make it stop! Somebody start reciting from the Scottish Play instead!)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Getting back into it

I've been struggling with the transition out of last semester: I find I still have a bad taste in my mouth from the student reactions at final grades (and I am interested--read annoyed--to note, having gone back to campus today, how many students didn't bother to pick up their final grade sheets). I very much want to start the new semester with a more affable and friendly feeling, not the "goddammit, you little shits" feeling I ended the fall with. I did notice feeling significantly better having been on campus today and getting into it (however you wish to construe "it"). I did feel a little guilty: Bruce had been struggling with the tricky part of adjunct schedules without me, but he said he didn't mind (though he did make it clear that he'd been working longer hours than he'd have liked). Well, I'll earn my keep the next go-rounds--and he could have called me, so I'm not going to let that little bit of guilt get in the way of the overall sense of easing tension that I got from the little toe-dip today.

I had said I wouldn't respond to student e-mails over the break, but the first few days I was away I caved and not only checked but answered--until I realized I was having anxiety attacks every time. So I didn't look at my work e-mail again until a few days ago (looking for news about my electives--more on that in a minute). I saw that there were a few messages from students but I didn't look at them. Today, finally I responded to those student e-mails and one mother e-mail (a very brief "sorry, but I can't talk to you about it; I'm sending your son his grade sheet, which I'm sure he'll share with you"). I thought the son had contacted me on his own but turns out not: his e-mail has been hijacked by a spammer, so I was getting spam from him. Well, he'll get a very short letter from me ("You didn't pick up your grade sheet but you may not understand why you got the grade you did. Here's why.") He can share it with his mother or not. If I hear from her again, I'll turn her over to Bruce.

There were two other student e-mails that I'd been shying away from over the break, but they were simply saying yes, in fact, they would prefer a W to an F: I responded today to let them know the change is in the works. However, since so many students didn't pick up their grade sheets, I may still get a bunch of frustrated e-mails, but I'll simply say "check the door."

But--on the nice side of things--I did get one e-mail from a student thanking me for the B she earned in the short story class. She really did earn it: she worked her fanny off for that grade, and I was very pleased to be able to reward her efforts. I'm observing how different the student response is in 101 and the lit electives. The students in 101 still haven't gotten the clue about one of the primary ways in which college is different from high school: in college, it is not enough to do some of the work, or to do the work but do it badly. One must do the vast majority of the work and do it well. Weird, isn't it.

Regarding my electives, and my schedule generally, I'm sorry to report that Nature in Lit didn't run--again. I don't know if I'd have been able to get it to run if I'd been trolling the advisement lines as I've done in the past, but I doubt it. Too many students sign up without going through advisement any more. And since my fliers kept getting torn down, well.... (I'm hoping madly that the new Sustainability Studies major goes into effect: if it does, Nature in Lit is a required course, and that will save it from permanent archival due to lack of interest.) At this point, Native American Lit is still holding on but by the thinnest of threads (ten students registered as of today): Bruce may have to cancel it any moment. I'm ready to teach four sections of 102 if it comes to that, but Judas Priest, I hope it doesn't. Still, I took the reader pages back over to the copy center today to get two more sections' worth of readers printed up, just in case. I know I'll need one of those sections, hope to hell I don't need the second.

And tomorrow it snows. I could use another day of recuperation (was sick over the last weeks of the break, dammit): Thursday and Friday I have to be in at 8 a.m. to be there for contract signing--and at 10:30 I'll start work with my colleagues on the scheduling committee putting together the full-time faculty course assignments for fall. We'll go until 2:30 or 3--or maybe a little later, if our brains hold up. Unlikely we'll finish in two days, but we'll see what we can do and figure out a third day whenever we can. I'll be whipped at the end of each of those days, I'm sure, so I hope to spend tomorrow recharging my batteries.

I'd hoped to be copying syllabi this week, but until I know for sure what my schedule is, I don't want to do that. Not only do I await the fate of Native American Lit, I'm also hoping to swap a section of 102 with a colleague so I have a more compact schedule (and don't have to teach at 9:30 a.m.--which for me is ungodly early). I'll know more on Thursday, I reckon--and I suppose I'll be copying syllabi at Kinkos or some such over the weekend. C'est la vie.

And now, I'm going to snuggle down with a trashy novel and a huge cup of tea and call it a night. More anon.