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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I'm still here...

I keep thinking I've written the last post for the season, and then I find myself in the office, or at my computer at home, with more work stuff to relate.

I put in a good whack at the adjunct schedules for fall--and kept getting interrupted by colleagues who wanted to ask about the second summer session ("That's up to Bruce now," I kept saying, but then we'd get to talking about enrollment and how fucked up the decisions of the Administration and BOT are...). I stopped when I realized I needed to confer with Bruce--who left for "lunch" at about 1:30 and wasn't back by almost 5, even though his car was still out back. (One of those lunches, said a colleague who came looking for him.) I'd planned to come in to work on schedules tomorrow in any event, so with luck, I'll be able to get to the point where Bruce really does have to take over, because I'm out of courses--or at least out of courses that the remaining adjuncts are qualified to teach.

One interesting moment was when I realized that there is a section of Science Fiction that is as yet unclaimed. I didn't claim it because it meets when my MDC class meets--but I'm going to ask Bruce if we can keep it in reserve for me. That way, if the MDC doesn't run, I can still ditch a 101 for my Advisement hours and only have one comp, plus two electives. Sounds like a little slice of heaven to me.

After I gave up on scheduling, I decided I would dive into the continuing process of cleaning out and organizing files. I got rid of one enormous stack--some of it in the recycling bin, some of it reorganized and refiled--but there are still two good-sized and notably chaotic stacks still to be sorted through. There is also quite a bit still in the file drawers themselves that I probably should at least thin out if not toss entirely--but I'm not sure I can face the mental effort at this point in my life.

However, all those files of things I no longer use are interesting evidence of how much my pedagogy is ever a work in progress. I've tried so many ideas, with varying levels of success: some I've probably given up on too quickly; others probably were never going to work. But I keep seeing things I've tried in the past and thinking, "I wonder if I'd have time to use that again in the fall?" or "That might be helpful; would students look at it if I just made it available and didn't specifically assign it?"

Writing that sentence made me wonder whether I should once again announce that my students are going to be subjects of an experiment: that I'm going to try out some ideas on them to see whether the ideas work. Since one of the functions of Blackboard is that I can track who has opened a link and for how long, or how often, I would be able to tell at a glance if anyone is looking at "recommended but not required" materials. I bet they won't: as an undergraduate, I highly doubt that I would have--and that's not entirely a function of the arrogance of ignorance; it's also a matter of the pressures of time. But I have all this stuff, all these varied approaches to the problems students encounter....

At this point, however, that all goes in the ever-expanding "well, we'll see" file (not to be confused with the "time will tell" file in this case: they really are separate). In addition to all the plates I'm trying to keep spinning here in the office, I also have a handful of things to take home and merge into the files and lists and stuff I have there, adding to the plates spinning at home--and I'm going to have to try to keep all that crockery from smashing to the floor while I'm away or otherwise ignoring the hell out of this place for more than a month. I hate that feeling of having to back-track almost all the way to the beginning of a process in order to remember where I left off, which plate is about to stop spinning and crash.

I'm so tired I can neither sustain nor creatively mix a metaphor. It's time to go home. I have been here since about 11 this morning: that's an 8-hour day, folks. But, you know, educators have summer off....

Speaking of off, however, that's where I am, right now: I'm off. I'm also leaving for the day.

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