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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

burning the 8 p.m. oil

I'm pretty well set for the SF class tomorrow, not so much for Mystery, but it's nearly 8 p.m. as I start this, and I am still here at the office. It's time to boogie on out of here, as soon as I post a bit to the blog.

I am going to need a large supply of burlap bags to suppress the guinea pig in the 101 class. I talked to him after class about the fact that I would need to periodically halt him mid-stream--or not call on him at all--but talking to Paul about it, I've decided that I'll start saying, "OK, you have 25 seconds in which to make your point. If you need to think through what you want to say first, so you know what the point is and that you can do it in 25 seconds, I'll come back to you. Otherwise, I stop you at the 25 second mark. Period." I like the idea of letting him know that he needs to come to a point--and to do so expeditiously.

Paul pointed out--rightly--that relatively soon, the kid is going to start driving me bats, which will make me feel a great deal more negatively about him than I now do. However, if he can learn to sift actual points out of the effluvia, that will be a good lesson for him and for the rest of the class. Another student agreed to have his incomprehensible language examined by the rest of the class: I'm very proud of his courage--and his writing was a great example of good points obfuscated by turgid prose.

I suspect that I will be much more bothered--angered even--by the student who is simply incapable of understanding directions, reading instructions ... reading anything, actually. He keeps asking me to go over what's due for homework the next day, and I keep saying, "Read the schedule of assignments." He wanted me to explain about the submission requirements for the preliminary essay--and I pointed to where the handout (one page, thank you very much, which for me is a miracle of concision) specifically spells out the length and submission requirements. Yes, but he wanted me to explain it. That's going to get very old in a very big hurry. However, generally, the class is pulling together: even the two students who were new to the class yesterday were prepared today, contributing to the conversation, definitely part of the group. I let them go way early--which turned out to be a good thing, as several of them had questions (beyond the Guinea Pig and Mr. Lost).

Tomorrow is going to be a jam-packed day. I have a doctor's appointment, then the department meeting (I'd conveniently forgotten to record those on my calendar, but ah well), then SF, then I'm supposed to assist with a faculty scheduling training workshop, but I think I may have to beg off, so I can spend the time doing at least some prep for the Mystery class before I meet with them. I won't have their first assignments marked--or, rather, I can either mark their first assignments or reread "Murders in the Rue Morgue," and I think the latter is probably more important at this juncture. It's a lead-pipe cinch that I'm not going to do any more work tonight, and highly unlikely that I'll get anything done in the doctor's waiting room, or during the department meeting. I'd bail on the meeting--and I may miss part of it, will I or nill I, depending on how long I'm at the doc's--but the main agenda item is seminar hours, and I feel I should be there, as moral support for Scott, if nothing else. He's really a marvel of calm competence, so whatever I can do to help him in that (except assist in that training session)...

That's it for now. My mind needs to try to find a much faster method for getting off the work hamster-wheel than usual if I'm going to have any shot at a decent night's sleep, so, off I go, into the wild blue whatever.

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