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Monday, September 15, 2014

Pretensions revealed!

Oh, too funny. Two of the students were not in class with their stories today. Because I know they don't check e-mail, I called them to let them know what to do. One of the students was the Brit, and when I got his voice mail, it was all I could do not to laugh through my message to him: on his voice message, the young man is very clearly a New Yorker, if not born then certainly bred. Not a shred of British accent anywhere. He also seems to be working to make his voice deeper (he's too old for the voice-drop thing to still be going on, and as far as I know, that only takes a few months anyway). Oh, bless his little heart, but his pretensions have just been painfully revealed. I suppose I could find it obnoxious--and if he keeps it up for very long, it will become insufferable in every sense--but right now, I find it amusing, with perhaps a little whiff of sadness: what a shame that he feels he has to pretend to be something so very other than what he is.

I'm more concerned about the other student: his voice was shaking when he got on the phone, and not with nerves. Apparently, he's been ill--and I'm concerned he may not make it through the semester. I told him to keep in touch with me over the next few days so we can figure out strategies. I hope he does.

Otherwise, class went pretty well. The students--all but one--did not want to do a free-write, but most of them did want to talk about their experience writing their stories. Class was pretty short. Rather than starting off the story they are to read for Wednesday's class, I decided to do a "read around" of an extract from Douglas Adams's Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. Most of them found it funny (one didn't), and I told them to hang on to the handout, as we'd use it again when we need to read something in class because they've been busy writing. I should find something else to read, too--or maybe instead (I have a feeling Adams is going to get old in a hurry). Maybe I can find an online trove of short-short stories.

There weren't a lot of students in Advisement today, so I got a good whack at marking homework for the various classes. And--in consultation with my support team over the weekend--I've decided not to rejoin the Curriculum Committee at this point, even though I was all set to do it. Reasons to rejoin: there is important work to be done; they're having a hard time getting enough members to do the work; I want to bolster my promotion folder. Reasons not to: one semester on a committee isn't going to make that much difference to my folder and, more to the point, I feel I have enough on my plate right now--especially with the addition of the promotion folder into the mix. Having bailed on that committee means that I have another good chunk of time tomorrow before P&B in which to finish off the homework. Good thing, too, as I don't think I could mark another thing tonight.

One other modestly interesting event from today, and instance of "faculty behaving badly." I went into the mail room to photocopy the students' stories so I have them to distribute on Wednesday--and one of my colleagues (a full-timer) was bitching heartily at another (an adjunct) about how he was wasting paper because he'd made a mistake of some kind in setting up the copier. Meanwhile, a student aide was trying to add paper to the machines, and was getting conflicting "instructions" from the adjunct: "Go get her set up first" and then when the student went to put paper in the other machine, the adjunct said, "But what about my stuff? Nothing's happening!" Meanwhile, the other copier starts up--and it's spitting out more copies of the adjunct's mistake, sending the full-timer even more ballistic: "You're wasting all these copies!" "I don't know what I've got, where it left off!" "Can't you just count them?" and the student aide is muttering, "You said to help her, right? Isn't that what you said?" while he's back trying to put paper in the first machine....

And these are adult professionals. Ye gods. I just waited and had a nice little chat with another colleague until the dust settled, the combatants had finished their copying and left the room, and the student aide had ensured that both copiers were properly filled with paper. Then I quietly went about making the copies of the student stories. Ridiculous.

Now, however, I'm going to toddle back over to my desk and at least put things in some kind of organized stacks. I think I have enough brain left for that, though I may not for anything else. The queen of noodling: that's me.

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