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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sick day #2

It's interesting how the body will give us what we want, whether we really want it to or not. Despite the snow days, and Presidents' Week, and the upcoming spring break, I've been moaning and whining about needing a day off--so on Sunday, I got well and truly ill. Yesterday I still was not well enough to teach. Today, I probably could have done it--and indeed, I got myself all the way to campus and sat at my desk for about ten minutes before I thought, "Nope, not gonna," told the office to cancel my classes and came home. So I got my days off. I know the consequent pile-up of more things on the to-do list will be a bit frantic-making, but I have to say, it's been good to be home, answer e-mails, think about some committee work, and otherwise rest.

Having been to the office today, however, I am reminded that I am currently somewhere between livid and hopelessly resigned over one student in 102. I believe I've bitched about her before: this is the one who gave me a series of excuses for why she couldn't pick up the final version of her first paper and just wanted to know the grade--then was astounded by the grade when she'd worked so hard. She tried it again: She was late submitting the second version, so I told her I'd leave the comments on my office door (two other students were in the same boat). Then I got an e-mail from her, saying couldn't I just send her the comments? I wrote a blistering e-mail in return, pointing out that 1) I didn't have her paper to refer to; I'd left it on my office door, and strangely enough, I don't remember her paper individually well enough to give her comments without the actual paper to refer to and 2) I'd already done my job writing the comments on her paper; I wasn't going to do it again because it's inconvenient for her to get to campus to pick up her paper and 3) she says she's "working hard" but I note that her first paper--which presumably has comments that might have helped her with the second one--is still sitting on my office door, and if she can't take that much responsibility, then how hard is she really working?

I got back an abject reply that I'm right (yeah, I know) and thanking me for my comments.

Which she still hasn't gotten--because now two of her papers are sitting on my office door.

Of the three students who needed to pick up comments in order to do their final versions, only one did. I think maybe eight students actually showed up for class yesterday: Paul kindly agreed to go there to collect papers and to remind them that they need to follow the schedule of assignments for Wednesday. I almost asked him to do it again today, but then I thought "Fuck it." Maybe three students got the e-mail saying they should leave their papers on my office door. Maybe one actually will.

I'm so sick of their lack of responsibility, it's hardly surprising I've got a stomach virus. But I must say, it makes me look forward to teaching 101 in the fall--because I'll have absolutely no illusions about it. I'll expect them to be utterly irresponsible, to have to be taught everything--and I do mean everything--about how to behave as college students. I expect 102 students to be at least a little better, and in my experience lately, they're not. So, note to self: when I next teach 102, make no such assumptions.

On a much more positive front, however, Mr. Dad from 102 did some work that prompted me to check in with Le Guin on something regarding the book. I'd always dismissed the similarity between a character's name in her novel--Ennoch--and the biblical character Enoch, but my student did some research that made me wonder if I should be so quick with my assumptions. I've sent her an e-mail with the question and await her reply; whatever she says will be interesting to take back to the class.

Tomorrow will be a long day--and I'm sure I'll be feeling well enough for it. I'll start with a 9:30 departmental assessment meeting (always a fun-fest), then Advisement, then class--and if I have any energy left (please god), I'll write up the two observations I've done and think about scheduling a few more observations of new adjuncts. And check my triage lists. And on we go.

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