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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Brain melt

This has simply been a weird day, starting off with resetting the alarm, because the downstairs neighbors had been partying until midnight (at which point they got quiet only because I called the police), so I hadn't gotten enough sleep, followed by the too-early arrival of the woman who cleans my house, a very long and complicated story of "oh shit; oh, wait: no, this will work; wait, oh shit" stuff that ultimately meant that I got to campus at 11:45 instead of 10 as I had originally intended. I was feeling a little frantic, trying to clear things off my desk before P&B--but P&B had been rescheduled to Thursday, which I'd completely forgotten, so I had more time than I expected but I realized I also have been waiting to submit the request for travel funds for the conference in November and that I probably shouldn't wait any more, so I was fussing around getting everything together for that, and then suddenly it was time to go to class....

I did get all the assignments I had in hand back to the students today, but of course I collected a new set, and I'm going to be galloping at full speed the next two days: tomorrow, assessment at 9:30, Advisement--which I'll get to late, so I'll have to stay late, which means I will be late to the meeting of the "seminar hours" committee, then straight from there to class, and Thursday, the day starts with a meeting of the college-wide Academic Standing committee, then the rescheduled P&B, followed immediately by the classes that need to get work back.

Fortunately, I will be able to do work during my time in Advisement tomorrow, and I only have the one class tomorrow, so I hope I can do some work after class, and I can come in a little early on Thursday morning (because I moved a doctor's appointment, thank God), but still, I'm running down the chute being poked with committee cattle prods.

And its the third week of the semester. Judas Priest.

However, next week is a short week: we have Thursday off for Rosh Hashanah. I have two doctor's appointments, but I do not have to be on campus--and I can do as much life maintenance as possible on Thursday so Friday is more of a real day off. And there can't be too many weeks that are quite this packed with meetings: most committees only meet once a month, so the sudden perfect storm of meetings in a two-day period can only happen three more times, maximum. And then I'll be on sabbatical.

Today's classes were fine. I admit I rather tuned out during the second one: we were in the library, so the sessions were actually being run by librarians, though I was there to chime in from time to time and to help students once they were turned loose to research on their own. I used the second session to finish marking assignments, check and respond to e-mails, that sort of thing--and the students were generally doing OK with heading into their own explorations. A few don't have a clear idea yet what they want to focus on (no problem: let the research start to lead you in a direction); a few didn't know what their supposed to do with the research when it comes time to write their papers (talked about it a little, will talk about it more on Thursday), a few thought it would be OK to use their cell-phones to chat because we weren't in class having a discussion ("Next time, I will embarrass you in front of the whole class and make  you leave")--but generally, they were getting into the swing of it. And when they were having a hard time coming up with useful search terms, I brought the librarians over: they're better at that than I am (and in fact, one of the librarians is great: he loves finding stuff and always test-drives the assignment before he talks to the students about it, so he can lead them right away to some cool stuff). The students still aren't quite on top of the homework, so on Thursday, I also have to raid from Paul's "How to Be an Excellent Teacher" bag and have the students drag out their syllabuses again, look at the schedule of assignments....

Right now, however, I'm so tired I hurt. I need to let go of today and hope to hell I can wind down early enough to get a decent night's sleep before the 6 a.m. alarm tomorrow. (Gack.) I may even be too tired to read tonight, and that's saying something.

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