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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

bump bump bump

It's just bumpy, the start to the semester.

We're still trying to figure out how to get the Seminar Hours thing off the ground given the fact that the administration has been idiotically slow in letting students even know that the mentoring option exists. I was all set to advertise to my own 101 class today, but as I helped Scott with a faculty workshop on how to use the scheduling software, he asked that we hold off until he can find out from the dean whether there is actually a reason for us not to extend outreach to our own classes--including (possibly) continuing students, in addition to new freshmen. It's really difficult to determine how paranoid to be about the administrations apparent raging incompetence on this: are we being set up to fail, or is this just lack of foresight? As Scott keeps pointing out, more than 80 faculty at 45 hours each means more than 3600 hours of contact with students--and that means a hell of a lot of students, even taking into consideration repeat visits. And the first mass e-mailing, which went out to 400 students, netted 30 students who are interested in the program.

Clearly there is a problem of scale here.

But, well, we knew it would be bumpy. We were expecting various system failures. So, we're holding on to our collective, metaphoric hats.

Shifting gears to interactions with students, today is the last day that students can add a class. I was expecting things to be pretty frantic in Advisement because of that last-minute panic, but it was relatively relaxed. I didn't have a lot of time to work on my own stuff--and spent a fair amount of what time I did have sorting out a doctor's appointment--but I'm hopeful that tomorrow I will be able to crank through both assignments I've collected (trying to stay ahead of that curve as long as I can) as well as finish rereading the stuff for the elective classes, so it's fresh in my mind when I meat them on Thursday.

In any event, after today, my rosters will be set--or at least, no one will be added to the rosters. Weirdly, one student dropped the Mystery class--but signed up for SF. I don't know if he did it because he's more interested in the material or if he didn't realize he'd have the same monster of an instructor. I reckon I'll find out on Thursday.

There were two students in the 101 today who weren't there for the first class (and who are already in awfully deep water as a consequence), and one absentee--but not the student who told me that he was going to be absent: he actually made it. And I was pretty happy with the discussion. What I liked is they're already starting to look at each other, not necessarily at me. As we get dialed in even further, I'm going to encourage more of that. There is at least one very smart young woman in the room: intelligent and apparently with a solid work ethic to go along with the basic mental capacity. I think she's going to raise the bar for everyone, without my having to do much of anything. Cool beans, that.

I do realize, however, that I probably don't have quite as much planned for tomorrow as I should. We'll see how things go, but I may end up letting them out super early--or they may end up starting to work on their preliminary versions of their papers in class. I'm trusting to the inspiration of the moment.

I probably should try to get some more work done, but "should" is a dirty word. There is always tomorrow. When the sun will come out. When I'll be stronger. When ... well, whatever. Tomorrow.

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