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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The bloodbath begins

Ah, Christ, I hate this.

Missing papers. Missing submissions to Turnitin. Late papers and submissions. Potentially good students AWOL. And I'm hitting the wall.

Mistake after mistake today. I should not have gone to Advisement. This is what I get for being the good girl. I managed to get about 2 1/2 papers graded in the three hours I was there: too many distractions (including a lot of loud talk among the professional advisers) and lots of little stuff getting in my way. Among other things, I realized that the rubric form I was all set to use has some things on it that either apply only to 102 or don't use the new terminologies I've come up with, so although I could at least check off the rubric boxes, I couldn't write out comments--as I'd just have had to rewrite them on the corrected form.

I didn't bring lunch but grabbed something quick from the little campus food shop (and I use the word "food" loosely). So I got deeply hungry a little bit ago, and ate some crap out of the vending machine, trying to keep myself going--but I'm crashing big time.

I realize that, even though it's early, I truly cannot, simply cannot, focus well enough to mark even one more paper today. I may end up getting up at 5:30--certainly will get up by 6 at the latest--to try to crank out the remainder, but it's a hell of a gamble: I still have 13 to go, which means trying to get through three in an hour (plus a bit) when usually two is the best I can do. And I'm allowing one student to at least try to turn in a paper by 11 tomorrow morning. I think I'll be OK on that one: somehow, much as I hope she does make it, I don't think she will.

And I have to decide whether to tell a few students that truly, mathematically, they stand virtually no chance of passing at this point. And then the attrition starts.

Christ, I hate this.

OK, good notes, good notes:

The meeting today was very helpful. I think I have a much better sense of something somewhat tangible that I can bring to next week's meeting of the "seminar hours" committee. Another member of the seminar hours group and I met with colleagues from the Center for Educational and Retention Counseling--and they were very grateful that we reached out to them, want to work with them. They had some good ideas and helped us kick things around enough that things started to take shape in my own mind at least. That was great.

And I had told Cathy that I'd help her by reading 20 "move up" essays: students who are in remedial English but who seem not to need a full semester of remediation have the option of doing essentially a re-placement exam half-way through the semester and potentially getting moved into a section of 101 that meets half the term (but for twice as long each meeting). It's a good thing all around, but I sure as shit didn't need to put my own paper grading aside to read those essays. Turned out I didn't need to, so that's a very good thing.

And class was good. I've decided that we're going to meet in the little conference room here in Bradley from now on: more intimate, nicer--and I can make copies of exercises or free-writes for us to do sort of mini-workshops on. I decided--as the words were coming out of my mouth, basically--to keep the readings, exactly as originally intended: read, do notes, we discuss. But if/when the discussion falls flat, I can now ask students to volunteer something very rough for us to talk about as a process looking at the very early stages of idea formation--and I can trot downstairs to make copies for everyone, so we all have something to look at as we "workshop." I hope it will work: it certainly will be a grand experiment. We actually had a pretty good little discussion about revision as a process, and--setting them up for their next stories already--we started talking about point of view and voice. So that was great.

And now, I am going to go feed myself and try to get into bed as early as humanly possible--and pray for yet another miracle tomorrow, so I can get all the rest of those papers marked before each class. Light a candle for me or something, please.

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