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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Still sick, still tired--but back in the office

The conference experience was quite lovely, despite the fact that I was so hoarse that people were actively wincing listening to me talk. Coughing, snuffling, croaking: oh, I was just a delight to be around. But the panel went very well, I thought, and my colleagues were absolutely delightful to work with. I hope we get more chances to work together--or just to hang out and talk. There weren't many people in the audience, so things didn't get quite as lively as I'd hoped, but still, it was good talk about an interesting idea, I thought.

On my return, after a day of life maintenance, I got up on Monday and about one third of the way through my morning routine thought, "Nope, can't do it." I not only called in sick to Advisement but also canceled class--despite the fact that it was a workshop day for the fiction writing class. I sent out an e-mail with a plan B, but only two people got the e-mail, apparently (maybe three); certainly only three people showed up to exchange stories in my absence (which had been the plan). Today, I waffled around about what to do, given that SNAFU, and ultimately decided that I'd juggle the schedule for after Thanksgiving so we can workshop the stories without having to do lightening round (one minute per person max--and even then maybe not get through them all). Things will be a bit chaotic after the break, but the students are quite willing to play along with whatever scheme I come up with--as long as I don't rely on e-mail to get the information to them.

I canceled classes on Tuesday, too, partly to have another day of physical recovery but also partly to have a little more time for the mental adjustment of heading back into the 101 classes, in particular the earlier one. I got a relatively extensive report on what happened in the later section (including one snotty comment from a student to the sub that said student didn't annotate her articles because she doesn't learn that way); I have no idea what happened in the first section, but I assume it was somewhat the same deal.

And honestly, a part of me is highly tempted to cancel tomorrow, too. I'm just so certain that the students won't be prepared with anything--they're supposed to be finding articles on their own, and I'd bet even money that most of them aren't doing that without me there to remind them--and I don't know if I'm up to doing any heavy lifting in terms of trying to come up with something substantive for them to do in the absence of their having done the work I set out.

Thinking of that earlier section, the problem of Little Miss Arrogance continues. When she canceled her appointment with me last week, I told her that I'm extremely concerned about her progress in the class. Not only has she not contacted me again, she wasn't in class when the sub was there. I just checked: she's been absent four times and late at least six, maybe seven--and I think she's turned in three homework assignments all semester long. The short story is, she simply cannot pass the class, and if she doesn't withdraw, she'll either get an F or the equivalent on her transcript. I'm not sure how invested I am in trying to convey to her that she no longer will be evaluated on her perceived potential but rather on the work she actually produces. The discouraging fact is that, when she re-takes 101, she's likely to get someone who will give her a pat on the back and the A just for showing up--which, of course, makes me out to be the unreasonable bitch--and then she'll get slammed somewhere further down the line. Or maybe I should say I hope she does, and I hope it happens when she's still in school, but I fear in our society, it may be entirely possible for someone like her to skate through life doing exactly as she's doing and never suffer any negative repercussions. I like to believe that the work world is more unforgiving, but I've seen enough instances that seem evidence that, in fact, people can be rewarded for doing nothing at all except looking right and seeming capable.


Of course, having spent the day coughing and snuffling and now feeling very tired and dragged down is not the best time to be thinking of what I can do to enliven the 101 classes and make them not only beneficial for the students but bearable for me. This may be a good time for the Scarlett O'Hara mantra. On the plus side of the ledger, I did crank out the write-up of the first observation I conducted. The other colleague I observed and I have been playing a crazy game of trying to find a time when we're both available: finally, next Tuesday at 11:30 seems to work for us both, so I've got fingers and toes crossed that nothing comes along to bollix that up, too. I just need to meet with him briefly and go over my notes and comments before I write the thing up.

Then I get to turn my attention to my promotion folder, which is sitting on the back burner and may be about to scorch, if I don't get to it soon. Maybe I'll have a chunk of time to work on it next week--without having to take it home with me over Thanksgiving (though that may happen, too).

I know I will find time to do everything that absolutely needs to be done, and I know that some things that seem like they "need" to be done will turn out not to be so necessary after all and will get booted down the road (or palmed off on someone else). Sufficient unto today, however, is what I've done up to this point. I'm going to snuffle my way home and hope for a good, deep sleep before whatever tomorrow brings. I will also carry work home with me, just in case I decide upon waking tomorrow that one thing that's going to get booted down the road is meeting with my 101s. I hope I have more self-discipline than that, but maybe I just need a little spell of being petulant (and taking care of the snuffles). The other mantra arises now: We'll see.

And indeed, we will. Stay tuned for further developments.

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