They used to be called "early warning," but in "Their" infinite wisdom, "They" decided that calling the system "Academic Progress" was better--I guess because we can tell students they're doing well, in addition to telling them all the reasons why they're in trouble. In my 101s, the students who need some kind of warning (up to those who need to withdraw, period) far outweigh the ones who are doing OK, never mind those who are actually doing well. Well, this is the way it goes.
Only four students showed up for class today, which was pretty damned discouraging. I did try out a process, which at least used up a little time: I asked our department IT person to set up the room so I could project things from a computer onto a screen, and she did (she's quite wonderful)--and that allowed me to type in a student's freewrite so everyone could see it. We then proceeded to brainstorm ideas about how the little bit he'd written could be expanded into a story: what would the conflict be, what parameters would we have to figure out.... It went OK, but I'm realizing I truly need to pick the brains of my colleagues who also teach the course, find out what they do with most class periods. Longer free-writing? More workshopping? I'm at a loss here.
I also am hoping that everyone shows up next week when the class is going to be observed; if not, it's going to be a debacle of epic proportions.
My mind is boinging around all over the place: student stuff, paperwork, promotion application, trying to figure out what I'm forgetting in terms of committee tasks. Today felt modestly productive at least (despite the class being a bit of a clunker). I am, however, starting to truly regret that I signed up for the Conversation Partner thing again. Not only do I find that I rather resent having to take time out of my Monday evening to meet with a student, but this particular student is difficult in the extreme, because of whatever autistic-spectrum disorders he has. I can tell he's very sweet and cares deeply about his ability to do well, but trying to converse with him is very difficult. Ah well.
The office is a bit of a mess, but I'm going to leave it in a mess until I get in tomorrow morning. I've pretty well and truly hit the wall, so I'm going to simply fall in a heap, metaphorically speaking. Thank god tomorrow isn't today but is, in fact, another day.