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Thursday, December 19, 2013


Not only did I get all the papers graded, numbers crunched, blah blah, I also turned in the idiotic paper forms before the office closed at 7 (with 20 minutes to spare). I have to check Banner tomorrow: a student showed up this evening, because she'd forgotten to get my signature on the withdrawal form and to actually process the withdrawal. Doesn't say much for her organizational skills, but I rather liked her as a student, at least in terms of the class discussions, and she's talking about signing up for one of my 102s again next semester. I don't mind in the least, though I have no clue how well she'd actually do.

The students who wanted papers returned with comments came by to get them today, and one or two thanked me sincerely. It was interesting (and a little ouchy) to read the self-evaluations from some of the 102 students, though what they said wasn't anything different from what they'd said in the wrap-up session. I'm too hard. They learned a lot, but I'm too hard.

Paul got a comment like that from one of his honors students: you're too hard--but I learned a lot. We're both observing that the students apparently don't see that those two things are linked.

I have to confess, however, that the self-evaluation that bugged me the most was the one that was filled with excuses--and pleas for mercy. ("I know I don't deserve a good grade, but look how hard my life was, and even though it didn't look to you like I was trying, for me I was, so can't you give me the grade I want?") He also said that he'd have gotten better faster except he was trying to do assignments without feedback from me, that I was holding on to five of his logs, so of course he couldn't improve until he got them back. (Bullshit. I may have had one or two, but never that many.) In the event, he actually earned the grade he was hoping for, largely because, at the end of the semester, he finally started to actually pay attention to my feedback (which, I must point out, he'd been getting all along, so even if I had been holding five assignments, he still had 20 others to refer to for guidance)--and finally started to actually work. Apparently the comment that got through to him was when I said something along the lines of "When you get tired of getting bad grades, maybe you'll do what you need to do in order to improve."

Oh. What a concept.

I've been feeling relatively grumpy and decidedly Scroogey today--I was snarling about the department party, saying I hate them (which, in point of fact, I rather do; hate may be too strong a word, but I do not find them at all enjoyable). And Paul and I were both somewhat wrestling with that feeling of "I'm doing something wonderful for you, and you are acting like I'm handing you something utterly worthless." I know better--Paul does too: we both know that their rejection of our gifts is not anything personal about us or what we have to offer; it's entirely about them. But it still gets one's goat sometimes.

But this semester is behind me. I will jitter for a while, go through the usual post-partum stuff for a few days, worry that there's something crucial I've left undone, but I hope I can turn any of that anxiety into working on getting all the handouts ready for the start of next semester--and then learn how to relax again for two weeks.

I'll be back on January 6th for scheduling, but I have no idea how much (if any) I'll post to the blog between now and the start of classes again on January 19. So, faithful readers, enjoy the holidays in every way that you can, and tune in again for the further adventures of Prof. TLP.

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