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Thursday, November 7, 2013


The Mystery class is a continuing delight. I truly am hauling them out of the rafters, but we're all having a blast--and I think they're truly learning, too. I've never had this many students left at this point in a semester before, and that is completely because I've lightened up the assignments--and my demeanor. I like this better. I'm happier, the students are happier: it just makes sense. I am a little worried that some may be in for a nasty surprise at the end of the term, so I need to take a look at grades and issue another warning to those in jeopardy, but I don't want to chase them out of the class.

I have to come up with a moniker for the young woman in that class who is suffering from depression. She came to my office hour today for help with her revision. I'm not sure whether she's able to take in the specific, task-oriented advice I gave her, but I did tell her that if I give her nothing else this term, the one thing I want her to take away is my firm assertion that she needs to practice more self-care. Most of us do, but in her case, I think it's particularly important. I did say it is a practice--as I well know. Practice means we make mistakes, means we need to keep trying. I said that because I'm beginning to wonder at what point I have to draw the line and tell her I can't bend any further. We may be approaching that point, but we figured out some priorities for her today; if she can come through, she'll be OK. If not ... well, we'll need to talk.

But delight of delights, today was the first time I can remember that she's said anything in class--and she talked (and laughed) a couple of times. In fact, I was hearing from people I've not heard from before, or so seldom that I wondered if they were truly there. The rambunctiousness is spreading, thank the good lord.

The students in 102 are doing an amazingly good job with the novel, too. Most are getting it at least some, and several are getting it on a lovely level of sophistication. I had to force a couple of the students to participate--and one resisted mightily, but when she finally added something, I praised her highly for bringing it up. I'm hoping that the silent minority will gain some confidence and start to join in.

I have an enormous stack of student assignments that I'm taking home with me. I will be very interested to see how much I actually get done. I'm feeling my cold more today than I did yesterday (the lack of sleep the last few nights is wearing down my immune system)--and I'm supposed to be on campus tomorrow for a symposium that starts at 8:45, of all insane hours. I don't know yet whether I'll go. I do want to--interesting topic, actually--and I have to fulfill my obligation to go to two professional development events each academic year: this would be one of them. But I'm going to see how I feel tonight and in the morning. I have no intention of making myself sick again just to go to a Friday event on campus. Even if I go, I will not be there on time. There will be the obligatory coffee and baked goods before the event, so things won't really start until at least 9:15, if not later--and people who teach on Fridays will come late, leave early, so I wouldn't be alone in not attending the entire event.

As I say, we'll see. My desire to bring more compassion into my work springs in part from an amazing seminar from a number of years ago, so one never knows what gems will be offered at these things. On the other hand, my health is not to be sneezed at, if you'll pardon the expression.

I'm folding my tents and slipping away into the darkness. No posting until Tuesday, unless something unexpected arises. More on the flip side.

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