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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Now I'm scrod (scrawed?)

Obviously I'm not a young cod fish, but I'm decidedly in deep water here. I made the tactical error of marking logs and other homework for today's 102 instead of setting all that aside and diving into the second versions of papers for tomorrow's 102--and today I got three more papers from the M/W class (which I'm accepting, for various reasons, which I won't go into here), so I'm drowning in papers to read and evaluate. And even if I keep the marking to a minimum (which I'm trying to do, painful though it is to fight my own compulsions), I still have a lot to crank through--and I'm officially out of gas tonight, and I have a meeting tomorrow that I cannot miss. (It's an elected position, and I've already called on my alternate to cover for me twice, so I really do have to do what I was elected to do.) That takes at least an hour and a half out of the time in which I can productively work tomorrow prior to class--and I know at least one student is coming to my office hour, which will take another bite of time out. I have thirteen papers to mark and about enough time for nine, at the usual rate. The only thing that may help is that several of the papers I have in hand were submitted without a first version, so all I need to do is read and attach rubric sheets: I won't set pen to the paper itself at all.

I truly do wish I had it in me to crank out a few more tonight, but both my eyesight and my concentration are shot.

So, it will be another early alarm day for me tomorrow. Part of me is saying, "You could set the alarm even earlier, you know, get up at five..." but I know damned well that won't happen. In the worst possible case, I'll put the student in groups in 102 and set them to work on their own while I finish grading.

I will say, I was irrationally irritated when a student withdrew from 102 today. She needed to withdraw--she's been hopelessly lost from jump street--but I had just spent a fair amount of time marking her fucking assignments. The waste of that time and energy galls me. (Couldn't she have withdrawn before I marked all her crap?) But ah well. The student who withdrew from 102 yesterday, I'll miss: she was delightful. The student who withdrew today? Good luck and good riddance.

By all rights, of course, I shouldn't be cranky at all: I should be walking about on pink, fluffy clouds of happiness. The Board of Trustees met last night, and to everyone's utter amazement, they unanimously voted to approve sabbaticals. Paul called me when the meeting adjourned, giddy with delight about it: all three of us got our sabbaticals for next year. So a year from now, I'll be working on my project--and the only way I'll deal with students is if anyone needs me in my role as evening supervisor, which is vanishingly rare. In order to keep the money coming in (and I do want the money to keep coming in), I'll have to be here on campus a few hours each week, and I'll have to do the usual scheduling stuff with Bruce, but I don't mind at all: the financial recompense is more than enough to make that light work load well worth it.

Sabbatical. My god. I can't really take it in. I'm sure it won't feel fully real until the last gasp of the fall semester. It will be odd, though: once again, I'll have the office to myself for a semester: William is taking a year, and Paul is taking the fall, so from September through December, I'll be the only, lonely person in this office. Then Paul will be in the same position in spring 2015, when I'm blissfully buried in my project.

Among other things, I do hope the sabbatical--even the prospect of the sabbatical--helps me do a deep reset in terms of my interactions with the students. I'm mostly able to remain flexible and relaxed--but it takes some conscious effort (yes, effort to relax, oxymoronic as that sounds). I hope to accomplish the same result more reflexively, with less conscious attention.

But speaking of conscious attention, if I'm going to be able to pay any to traffic on the way home, I'd best skedaddle. Fingers and toes crossed that I can crank through the papers tomorrow with more ease and speed than now seems likely....

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