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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Already falling behind

The semester has barely started, and I already am so far behind the curve in terms of keeping up with student work that I don't know whether to scratch my watch or wind my ass (as my aunt would have said). I am hoping for a very quiet stint in Advisement tomorrow, but even with that, I'm not at all sure how I can possibly mark all the assignments I have in hand plus reread the assignments for the two electives--which I really do need to do, as I don't remember either one well enough to feel confident teaching it without a review.

I should stay here and work for a while, but I've opted to meet Paul for dinner instead. I realize I'm feeling a vague and formless psychological malaise about the semester: I'm not sure how much of it comes from the herky-jerky schedule, all these interrupted weeks, and how much comes from the adjustment from being on sabbatical back to being in the classroom--and how much comes from the fact that the students in the electives seem even more deficient in their reading skills than I was prepared for.

I did give both the elective classes an alternative way to approach their reading responses, returning to the old log forms I used to use. I realize two things that I must adjust for next semester, both for whatever literature elective I assigned myself (I think American Short Story, but I can't remember) and for 102, which is what I'll be returning to after a good break. I need to rework the handout "The Reading Experience: How to Construct the Reading Response," to ensure that it includes a lot more about the content of the responses--and I need to decide whether to include the two-column log format as a way for students to structure their responses.

I think I'll learn a lot from what students in the two electives opt to do now. I've told them they can do what they've been doing, which are more like mini-papers, or they can switch entirely over to the two-column log format--or they can do a combination of both: whatever is most beneficial and user-friendly for them. Their choices will help me understand what works for them.

Both classes went fine today--and it was the first day that I had the experience of class-P&B-class, running one right into the other. I'm very happy that I'm not on any committees that meet during club hour, as I can usually count on that time to get some work done before class--but I will have students showing up during my office hour on Thursday, which means I won't have that time to count on for work.

It's starting to look like this may be a semester in which I end up having to stay here on campus very, very late--or take work home, or both. I'm also getting increasingly frustrated not to have the index cards for my record keeping. If I get a chance to call Printing tomorrow, I may tell them that if they can't get to the job tomorrow so I have the cards before my classes on Thursday, they should just cancel the job entirely. I can either print the index cards at home or figure out a different system for record keeping.

For now, however, I'm going to hang it up and head off to meet Paul. I may opt to do some work reading once I'm home, in hope that reading won't get me too jazzed up. I reckon I'll have a better sense of what is going to be most beneficial once I'm home and in my slobby clothes, beginning the real wind-down for the evening.

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