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Monday, July 14, 2014

It's potentially endless

I've spent hours both yesterday and today working on the revamped 101 classes--and not only am I about to go blind (almost literally: I need to see the eye doctor and may have to finally give in to bifocals--or even trifocals)--but my mind is starting to experience vapor lock. Every little piece I nail down needs another something to go with it: this assignment needs that handout needs information about what to do needs a due date that makes sense in the overall scheme of things....

Yikes and likewise zoiks.

It is starting to pull together, I think, which is a good thing (and relieves some stress). My impulse is to keep whacking away at it, as if I could get it all completely pulled together and checked off the list permanently by tomorrow. However, as with anything important, I know that what I really need is to take some time away from it all, then print out what I've got and go over it slowly and carefully, thinking carefully about each piece, reworking as necessary (certainly proofreading).

The hardest part for me, always, is to try to get inside the students' heads: to make the assignments clear and to provide enough information that there's no wiggle room ("but you didn't say we had to...") without creating a tsunami that simply knocks the students into a stupor. Too much information, they freeze up, overwhelmed and unable to process anything. Too little, they're confused.

Lordy-dordy, what a conundrum.

While part of me feels like saying "See? Teachers don't get 'summer off,'" I have to say that I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I can do this work any time that pleases me and from the comfort of my own home--and I freely admit that even with the work I have a hell of a lot of time to myself when I do absolutely no work whatsoever (except for the thinking about it part, which is pretty much continual). I do have summer "off," despite the work that I do over the summer. It's a whole different ball of wax than the work of being in the trenches with the students--and I do find this work very gratifying, albeit draining, mentally.

I also tend to get so caught up that I forget to get out of my chair, and then I find myself thinking "why does my body feel so weird?" Oh, yeah: I haven't had anything to drink for hours, and I haven't eaten, and I've scarcely moved any muscles except those it takes to type. No wonder my hips and knees protest when I finally stand up.

That said, it really is time to stand up, get a drink, maybe even eat something (can you imagine?). But I wanted to post something about the work I'm doing--and I may post more, as this continues to come together (or fall apart). The rare "I'm on break" post. But I'm stopping before I really do go blind.

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