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Monday, May 19, 2014

Staggering across the first of a series of finish lines

I just finished submitting all my final grades to Banner: I don't know whether to celebrate or simply fall limply to the floor. It's been quite the day today. I did take a brief break to eat my lunch (at about 3:30 p.m.), but other than that, I've been smashing through work all day.

I got in later than I expected (something slowed me up getting out of the house this morning--perhaps a psychological ailment of some sort), so I didn't get a chance to write up the evaluative statement for the last year-end evaluation I had to complete. I'm still on the verge of murdering that particular colleague: he's on P&B, and he's the one who hung me up on those, so I wasn't finished with them when I left on Thursday evening. But it's done now, goddammit.

We slogged away on scheduling, too--and I realized that when William is on sabbatical and I become the senior member of the team, things will not go quite so expeditiously as they do with him at the helm. He and I both rather fell in love with specific tasks in the process, and we've both gotten very good at those tasks--but his is more complex and requires a kind of thinking that he is now used to doing almost reflexively. Since I haven't done his part of the job in millennia, I hardly remember how, so I'll be facing a rather steep learning (or remembering) curve. We really should rotate positions more frequently, so everyone is equally familiar with each task, even if we each have one we like best.

The new member of scheduling, whose service on the committee doesn't actually start until next semester, joined us today--and she's going to be great. She's careful and intelligent and focused: perfect. The other colleague on the committee has the same traits, so those two will be sailing: I'll be the one bumping along awkwardly.

But now all that has to be set aside for tomorrow's day of interviews. William and I are both pretty cranky about the fact that the first interview is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.--and he has more reason than I, as he's at an orientation for honors students that may go on beyond zebra, then he has to commute home to Manhattan and back in the morning: he has to leave about the time I'll be starting to make breakfast for myself and the cats. I feel for him, I truly do, but I reserve the right still to be whining and pissy on my own behalf.

I suppose I should fess up here, too: I did fiddle with final grades a bit, especially in the M/W 102. Some students were getting marks way below what I felt they should get for the course, despite the fact that they were missing enough work to drop their grades significantly: I know I'd been talking about this last week, fretting about what to do. I'm letting go of my role as gate-keeper a little bit and letting a few through. In the instances when I was giving the biggest gift, I sent the students e-mails letting them know what I was doing. And as I do that, I wonder if there will be fussing and screaming from anyone who got less of an artificial boost--or the ones who got no boost at all, because I genuinely feel the mathematical calculation matches the grade I'd give the student if I were to rely only on my subjective, gut sense.

The only one I feel a little bad about is the young woman who was so triumphant about having made it all the way to the end of the semester and having written her final paper, despite the torture. She didn't pass. I teetered on the brink of giving her a D, on the theory that it doesn't transfer--but she truly is not ready to go on to any other level: she needs to take 102 again. She may well take it from a professor who sets the bar significantly lower than I do, in which case she won't learn a damned thing from retaking the class, but on the off chance that she gets someone who has high standards but can somehow reach her better, I'm hoping she'll actually get a chance to learn what she was just barely starting to grasp in my class. I feel particularly terrible about that one because the young woman told us all that she was diagnosed with a severe social anxiety disorder just at the start of the term, so she had been in a screaming panic from jump street, but she found the class welcoming and friendly enough that she stuck with it. I hate doing anything at the end that might take away from her ability to trust the class, me, us all--but as I said: she isn't ready to move on, and ultimately, I don't think I do her any favors if I pass her along only to have her hit an even more painful wall down the road.

I'm not sure if the office is still open: the last step I need to take is to photocopy my paper rosters and hand them in--but I think I'll let that wait until tomorrow, since I have to be here anyway. I think flight is the better part of valor at this point: I need to get out of here molto pronto. That other day thing? It's coming alarmingly quickly: I have to be back in a little over 13 hours. Ick! And oh well.

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