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Thursday, May 8, 2014

A minor miracle of a different sort

Today I experienced a minor miracle similar to the one I experienced yesterday: I went to each class feeling stupified with exhaustion and therefore cranky and disinclined to be charitable about student problems--and as soon as I encountered the students, I was able to tap into reserves of both energy and patience I didn't know I had. It does help that the remaining students are willing to knuckle down and grind through the last bits.

The students in Nature in Lit were saying that they have a huge amount of stuff to finish up for my class--and I took some of the blame for that, because I've let them let things slide. Then again, I've put the responsibility for time-management in their hands, and perhaps they're learning something from the fact that I left it up to them and they're suddenly finding themselves up to their eyebrows. In any event, we got through the final poems just fine, talked a little about papers, and I told them that on Tuesday, I'll simply hold conferences in my office: if they want to come to me with papers to work on, I'll be there. If not, they're free to work on whatever they like, as long as I get anything remaining on Thursday. That could come back to bite me, if they truly do turn in a bunch of revisions and missed logs and so on; I could be up to my own eyebrows in stuff to mark for them--but somehow I doubt it will be overwhelming. There are so few of them left, and there is so little time left--and they all have so much else to do with that time.

The 102 students were happy to talk over paper with me, and truly, all of them are getting the hang of it: not just these papers in specific but the writing process in general. Even though there are so few of them left, it still feels like a triumph.

I also didn't see the plagiarizing student today. He may well show up before or after class on Monday, but at least he didn't make today in any way difficult. I'll take that.

I had hoped to leave here with absolutely no student work hanging over my head--and I don't have much, but I find I can't face even the petite stack on my desk made up of logs and "place holder" essays from the Nature in Lit students. I can't face another iota of work today. I was so proud of myself last night that I got into bed within an hour of getting home and was turning out the light an hour after that--that's nearly unheard of for me--but then I was awakened at 3 a.m. by the start of a fight between my two cats (long and slightly distressing saga that I won't get into here), and by the time I had them calmed down again, I was wide awake--and wasn't able to fall back to sleep until 5. So much for a good night's sleep. When I woke up this morning, I was delusional enough to think there was a chance I might go to dance class tonight--and if I could spend tomorrow sleeping, I might have been able to summon the energy--but since I have to be back at 10 a.m. to review Chancellor's Award applications (urgh) and then have to take the problematic cat to the vet, tomorrow's going to be high stress enough that I feel a deep need to collapse tonight.

Still, I look forward, and every day I see less to do on the triage list; every day brings me closer to the end of this semester's responsibilities. Then it's all over but the shouting (at which point my response will be, "shhhhhh, I'm taking a nap").

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