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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

50-50

My first late night of the semester--and it's not as late as they're going to get, I'm sure.

I finished marking the assignments I've collected from Mystery & Detective, and I finished rereading the assigned chapters for SF. Before classes tomorrow, I need to do the flip of that: mark assignments for SF and reread for M&D.

I need to start chasing students out of those classes, or I'll never get caught up.

Yesterday, I didn't note that the potentially hostile student was still somewhat abrasive but not actively hostile (and he was in a group with a slightly older man who was not cowed in the least by the abrasive behavior). That class's Irrepressible Student was snotty to his group mates, accusing them of gossiping instead of focusing on the reading (an accusation they hotly denied); I said I needed to talk with him after class, and he was outraged that he might be in trouble for their behavior, but I assured him that he wasn't in trouble: we just needed to talk. By the time class was over, he realized what I wanted to talk to him about and apologized for his behavior. Fair enough. And my former student was there with a hard copy of the novel--but without having read it or written up his response. He tried to argue with me about whether what he'd done was enough (no, it wasn't), but he ended up stopping his own attempts to weasel out of the requirements before I could: he knew he was being a jackass. I let him stay, but I told him I was very disappointed in him and that I thought I'd taught him better. He was abashed. Whether he was sufficiently abashed to adjust his behavior remains to be seen.

Today, the Irrepressible Student in 101 was astonished that some of the discussion board posts were required--even though it clearly says so in the syllabus and in the grade calculation sheet. He also was confused about how the preliminary paper would connect with the final version. I said we'd be working to shift from one to the other in incremental stages, but he and the absolute dolt (the guy who cannot to save his life read an assignment handout) were both unwilling to work through the process: they want to know what the end result is supposed to look like right now--and they were so concerned about that, they didn't make good use of the library session. I realize I may have scheduled that too early in the semester, in terms of the logical progression of their ideas, but I wanted them to know that they can keep looking for ideas, articles, focus/direction as we go along. Two students were missing--a second absence for both of them. The dolt made me crazy, of course: I gave them the handout of the reading for next class, and he said, "What's this?" I had said what it was when I handed it out, so I said, "Look at your schedule of assignments and you tell me." Ultimately, I had to say to explain that it is his job to read the assignment handouts carefully, more than once, and only then ask me questions. It's OK if he has questions--but he has to have read the handouts first. I also said, "I've explained this in class--twice"--and he said, "It's just, sometimes you talk so fast..." I grant you, English is not his first language, so maybe I am going too fast for him, but he needs to ask me to slow down and repeat--or improve his listening skills so he can follow.

On the other hand, the best and brightest student was there and asking absolutely fucking brilliant questions about the education topic. She and another student--not as bright but earnest and dedicated--were sharing ideas, and I loved where they were going. The frat-boy type student had a good clear focus for his research--possibly a bit boring, but hey: I'll take some dullness if it leads to focus. A couple of the students were kind of floundering, but that's OK. I'm not happy that I only see them once next week (Wednesday being yet another holiday), but I'll cover as much ground as possible in that one class and we'll see what happens next.

On a purely technical front, I went by the Printing office today, and my order hadn't been started. I canceled it. What I print on the printer at home will bleed if it gets wet, but at least I can print the cards--and they really are the easiest way to keep track of things. As an addition to what I usually do, I think I'm going to cut out the little photos from the photo rosters and put them on the cards, too. It's too late to do an ice-breaker type exercise for me to learn people's names, so I'm relying on those photos to help me learn who's who in the big electives. In the 101, I knew everyone after the second class anyway.

I started out the day tired, and I still have miles to go before I sleep (literally, since I'm still in the office, and metaphorically)--and I'm going to be grinding away at the work like mad tomorrow, hoping to get everything done. Wish me luck: I'm sure going to need something.

And Friday, I believe a collapse will be in order.

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