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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

and yet another calculated risk

I made the decision this morning to work on the summer adjunct schedules instead of marking student papers--largely because I felt I needed my brains as sharp as possible for that task. Even at that, I was struggling to make sure I didn't make any howling blunders (and may still have made some, despite my best efforts, given how swirly my mental state is). I also realized that, although there was a big meeting to accompany the vote on contract ratification, I didn't need to attend the meeting: all I had to do was go, receive my ballot, vote, and split.

Now we hold our breath to see if the contract gets ratified: some of our own are making noises about voting against it--which would be a fucking disaster. We may be seeing the thin edge of the wedge, the camel's nose under the tent flap, as these colleagues argue, but I think we need to be extremely careful, as if this contract is not ratified, we may be back to facing a 5/5 load--and if that happens, you can bet that the people who are ranting about the current proposed contract and the uselessness of our union will be screaming loudest while we all twist in the wind.

However, because I didn't have to stay for the meeting (and was very glad to skip the bloviation-fest), I was able to mark a few papers prior to P&B. I only got one paper late: if anyone else has a paper to submit for tomorrow's class, they've simply missed the boat and will have to take the whopping penalty to their revision grade. The upshot of that is, I don't have much to mark tomorrow--and I'm going to believe that I can get it done in the time I'll have before Advisement and after, if not during the Advisement hours.

So, I'm taking the calculated risk of not doing any more paper marking tonight. There are also logs to mark and return, but since the students have already written their papers, I don't feel any particular urgency to get those back. If I can do it before class, golden. If not, enh.

Today's class got into a briefly lively discussion about one point in the novel--lively primarily because the students were engaged in writing their papers on the topic and so wanted to share what they've been working on--but apart from those few minutes, the class was typically deadly. Five students were there. Three had papers ready. One student already has essentially told me that she won't be turning in her first version at all; in the past, that would have meant failure in the class, but now it simply means that whopping penalty, as noted above. (This, by the way, is the student who was very clear in her initial self-evaluation that she hates English classes--and she's done everything in her power to not do the work and self-sabotage all semester long.) One student was completely AWOL (the one remaining male student in the class). But at most, I'll have seven papers to mark for that class, so I'm relatively confident I can get those done before Thursday's class, even if I spend a little more time on Thursday morning working on those adjunct schedules.

On a more pleasant note, the discussion in Nature in Lit was pretty good. I asked them to tell me what had gone on with the wonderful sub on Thursday, and they got relatively excited about recapping what he'd done. For instance, he'd brought in a dandelion blossom and asked them to consider how they'd react to it if they'd never seen one before--had never seen any kind of flower before. He also had them debate the two philosophies that are in conflict in the narrative--and to consider the metaphoric levels of the text. They're thinking on a much better level; the two young women who are most shaky in terms of their grasp of how to approach the work of the class both came up with great points today, so I could offer them praise, which always feels great to be able to do.

Today's interviews were also interesting, though the process felt extremely rushed and chaotic. We still haven't figured out how to handle the interviews via Skype--but I'm simply not going to bring it up. Let someone else have the realization that we have a problem; I'm tired of being the one trying to head trouble off at the pass instead of blundering into it. Either that or there truly isn't a problem, or someone else has already come up with a solution, and I needn't worry.

And I don't need to worry for a while anyway; I don't think we have any Skype interviews until May 13, so there's plenty of other stuff to focus on without those concerns getting in my way. I'm blissfully blanking out pretty much anything other than whatever is directly under my nose. I can only do one thing at a time anyway, and if there are any "oh shit!" moments between now and the end of term, so be it. I'm not going to get my shivvies in an uproar (to steal a little lingo from Farscape).

Instead, I'm going to trail off home--and may even (glory be!) reset the alarm from 6 to 7 for tomorrow morning. I drool with desire at the thought of day after day of being able to sleep as much as I want. Soon, Prof. P, soon.

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