It looks like I can get about 3-4 papers done in an hour, depending on the quality of the paper. So far, I have two "problem" papers for the first session--and may get at least the first two versions from another student so he can get some kind of grade for the assignment. Potentially, then, I have fourteen papers yet to mark: those three plus the eleven for the second session.
And I'm going to gamble that I can get them done tomorrow. I will have to get up at 6 again (and I'm glad I did that today), but I may even be able to crank them out a little more efficiently tomorrow, assuming I don't get seriously interrupted.
I did have a small but pleasant interruption today: a student from last semester dropped by to ask me quickly about what he should do for the personal essay he needs to write to apply to bachelor's programs. I could have brushed him off, but I like him and want him to do well--and it was only about 15 minutes of talking, so that's about one paper's worth of time I gave him.
I also spent longer than I anticipated after the Fiction Writing class was observed today, talking with Cathy about the observation (she was the observer)--but we also got chatting about various things, which always seems to happen. So that was maybe two papers' worth of time, but worth it, I think.
The class was great: the students did their thing beautifully, demonstrating their comfort and confidence and familiarity with the process. I was proud of them and happy to have a chance to show them off.
And--not so very parenthetically--I decided to go to Advisement after all today. I'm not sure why I flipped the coin that way: I suppose most of it is my tendency to be the good, responsible girl but I think I also wanted to see whether I could, in fact, get a good whack of papers done and still fulfill my time there. And I could, and did. Next week is going to be interesting, as I am not going to be in on Monday (spoiling myself just a trifle), and I get the first version of the second paper from the 101 students on Tuesday, have to have them back on Thursday. Of course, with the significantly reduced number of students even from the first go-round (when I still didn't get papers from everyone), the work load will be a hemi-demi-semi-skosh lighter, but first versions are still demanding: that's the revision level, in which I'm giving feedback about thesis, structure, argument, logic, support, none of which can be handled with just a quick symbol or abbreviation.
Ah well. Que sera sera.
As for specific students, the (metaphoric) Wreck Victim responded to an e-mail I sent today: I told him he really must withdraw, as he cannot, cannot pass--but he wants to hang in there and get what he can out of the semester. I've been to this fire a number of times before, and almost without exception, students who say that come to one, maybe two more classes and then end up vanishing anyway. I hope he breaks the pattern, but I'd be surprised. More power to him, though, that he wants to try.
Conversely, tomorrow I intend to give another student as close to the boot as I ever give. She is clearly not with the program, still seems to think if she shows up breathing she'll pass--and she cannot, cannot, cannot pass. If I'd really wanted to get the message across, I would simply not have accepted her paper at all--and that is, in retrospect, what I should have done--but I think I was still in the mind-set of "I need to keep bodies in the room." Her body, however, does nothing apart from perhaps provide a little warmth from her physical presence, but otherwise I think she drags the class down, significantly. And honestly, I'm just tired of her. Tired of the bump on a log approach to education. Tired of her staring at me like a flounder throughout the entire class period. Go away, kid, you bother me.
I do need to get out of here, but let me end on a more positive note: I have a plan for tomorrow that I'm going to be very curious to try out--and I have an idea about a grading system, which I hope to remember to explain in the blog post tomorrow. So, I leave myself with those pleasantly anticipatory thoughts and you all with the cliff-hanger. Stay tuned for another exciting installment of Prof. TLP's view.