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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The gamble paid off--so I'm rolling the dice again

The gods smiled on me in Advisement today: there were very few students, so not only was I able to get all the papers marked for today's 102, I had time to also slap grades on the miscellaneous homework I had in hand and eat a quick lunch while chatting with Paul. It was so successful, I'm going to try the same thing tomorrow. Right at the moment I have four papers in hand for tomorrow's 102, plus a very few homework assignments. I also have a few little bits and orts for Nature in Lit, but if I can't get those back to students tomorrow, no harm, no foul. I did tell them that we'd spend the period talking about papers, but mostly I expect that they'll need to be thinking about future papers or about revisions; I have two mini-papers from students who got them done according to a previous due date (I've changed their schedule so many times we're all losing track of what's due when), but since I don't have them all, I don't feel compelled to get those two back to the students. We'll get done whatever, and I can always spend a little time in class setting up the last fiction selection, Le Guin's story "May's Lion." I don't know why students tend to struggle with it, but they do--so I'm hoping a little set-up will help.

I do have a meeting tomorrow (Academic Standing, the college-wide committee to which I am the English department's elected representative), and I may see a student or two during my office hour, but I'm still gambling on being able to get marked what is absolutely necessary for tomorrow's classes. It's almost certain that I won't be able to work on summer schedules in addition to getting that marking done--but stranger things have happened.

Two items of good news.

1) The contract was ratified--and by an overwhelming majority. There are still people in our department howling about it, and long e-mail "conversations" in which everyone and their entourage seems to feel a need to weigh in on whether the contract is good, whether booing was the appropriate response to the person who stood up in the meeting to lambaste the union leadership and everyone voting for the contract, blah blah blah. What do I care. We have a contract. We don't have to teach five classes. I can go up for promotion--and if I don't get it, it won't be because there isn't a contract that allows for promotions but because the consensus is that I don't deserve it. (I can live with the latter; the former would drive me batshit.)

2) The lumpish student I've been trying to chase out of today's 102--trying since February, I think--finally realized that he really doesn't have a prayer and withdrew. There's a relief.

Tonight's observation was also fine: the teacher is gifted and doing a great job with a difficult class: students in remedial writing classes who are deemed worthy by their professors are given the chance to test out of the remedial course half-way through the semester, and she's teaching the subsequent do-a-whole-semester-of-101-in-half-a-semester class for students who were successful. We had a pleasant discussion after the class, too. Now all I have to do is write the damned thing up. And do my write-up of last week's observation--after I conference with that professor on Friday. I'll spend the entire day on campus on Friday, in fact: there's the big, annual Assessment symposium for most of the day, and then I'll hang around the office--working--until the adjunct shows up for our conference about her class.

I still have more Taskstream work to finish up (gack) and I'm metaphorically crawling around on my hands and knees, looking for those pearls that have rolled behind the furniture and fallen through the cracks--but the end gets closer each day, for which let me offer thanks and praise. By the last week in May, I'll feel like I've been run through a mangle, but sometimes it's actually quite wonderful that time just keeps rolling along (kinda like Ole Man River).

I should note, quickly, that I've become aware of a trend that I'd like to counteract: the more tired I am, the more likely I am to stay in the office noodling around instead of just getting myself home. I feel a powerful urge to noodle, but I am resisting--and will herewith end this post. Abruptly.

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