As my friend Eloise would say, I'm up to my antlers in ungraded student assignments--and of course, I didn't do a damned one of them over the weekend. I carried them all home, like a good little girl, and then carried them right back again: I didn't even move the bag they were in, just plopped it on the table when I got home on Thursday and picked it up again this morning.
Consequently, I'm going to have to burn, well, not the midnight oil (things aren't that dire yet), but the "later than I'd like" oil. I already put in a decent push tonight--just getting caught up with the short story class. I must say, I'm more than a bit ticked off that three of them are still, after repeated admonishments, missing necessary pieces of their second story submissions, so I can't grade them. I never put anything in the syllabus about late penalties (note to self if I ever teach the class again)--but this is getting ridiculous. I'm about ready to give them each a zero and leave it at that. OK, no, not really, though it is tempting. I will, however, read them the riot act tomorrow. In front of everyone. I'm all for a little shaming right about now. One of the offenders is Edison Adams, much to my dismay. He's suddenly falling apart, and I'm not sure what's going on. I need to talk to him.
I also just spent a few minutes here putting everything for the Mystery class in order--triage within triage. I've been shunting their stuff aside for the 102 class for way too long. This week, if I end up not getting work back to the 102 students, it will simply be their turn to get the fuzzy end of the lollipop. I had to postpone the due date for the second paper for the Mystery class: I figure it's only fair to give them their revisions back before they have to embark on a new paper, so they can see if they did improve, are on a better track. (And I just realized: one student who asked for more time didn't give me her revision today. I think she's missed the boat now.)
I had a conversation with a student after class, another young woman who is struggling. Her issue isn't depression, just over-work. We talked about it, and I told her she's simply in a position of having to make a very difficult decision, knowing the consequences of her choices. I did tell her that I'm willing to talk with her more about it, if it would help her to bounce the ideas off someone--but essentially, she has a very demanding job right now, and it's preventing her from paying sufficient attention to her studies. The options are, withdraw from the classes so she doesn't demolish her GPA, knowing she's "wasted" her tuition money and is going to be set back pretty far in terms of her progress toward graduation, or stay in the classes and know her GPA is going to take a hell of a hit because of the job conflict. I'm touched that so many of my students feel they can talk to me about these problems. I don't actually offer much help, but I think it matters to them that I will listen with empathy and respond with compassion.
One annoying thing to report: I was in the middle of the 102 class when one of the students showed up--about 30 minutes into the period--and from the door, waved to me to come outside and talk to him. I said, "No, I'm not going to interrupt class to talk to you. You can talk to me after class, or you can come see me or send me an e-mail." He said he couldn't wait until after class, and I said, "OK, then, contact me some other way." We'll see if he does. I'm not very sanguine about his chances in the class, which is too bad, as he showed some promise at the beginning.
I counted today: there are, right at this moment, 14 students remaining in that class. I'm hoping like hell they all stick to the end, but I'm afraid I anticipate losing a few--not because I have any real indications that anyone is blowing up but just because that's what usually happens. I feel nervous about throwing them into the final paper, as this semester they didn't get the test drive of using critical sources that I usually provide with the second paper (because I fucked up and didn't get them the apparatus to read the provided essays and get anything out of them). So they'll be dealing with critical material for the first time--and it ain't easy. But they get to revise and revise, so I'm hoping that will help them figure out how to use the stuff at least well enough for this level.
My eyes are burning; I can barely see, never mind think. I'm tossing this post up on the blog and getting the hell out of here. Back in 13 hours. Oy.