I've done the rereading of both novels, so I'm at least that prepared for classes tomorrow, but I find I'm feeling too discouraged to face another round of reading responses, after the marathon to complete the last batches yesterday. And I'm even more discouraged about the 101. Several students have been AWOL: two of the students missed the last two classes in a row, and one of them had already missed a class before that, so she's on her third absence already, not to mention that she missed the class when I went over discussion board posts (and she hasn't done any) as well as the library day. I sent out an e-mail to all students, letting them know that the handout I'd forgotten to distribute on Monday is on my office door--and the only student to respond to that so far is the other AWOL student, and he was a week behind what's required on the syllabus: his e-mail asked if he was right that last Monday's assignments would be due this coming Monday.
The students who are showing up are great, and I think they're learning--possibly not so much about writing yet, but something about reading and thinking. But of course the ones who most need to be there are the ones who are AWOL. And I can't be supportive and encouraging if they're not there. I don't like the fact that they may be doing a metaphoric face-plant into the hard pavement of responsibility, mostly because I don't want the class to get too tiny too soon. But there is also a limit to how much I can protect them from their own actions--and how much I should protect them. I prefer it if I can let them bounce twice before they splat, but again, sometimes I can't be there to provide the trampoline. As it were.
In this kind of mood, I wonder if I'll have the needed stamina to keep on doing this for who knows how many more years or if I'll start making compromises that I don't like to contemplate just so I can get through another round of student assignments.
It's a gorgeous, sunny day, absolutely stunningly beautiful, and I feel wrapped in grey, thinking about it.
The obvious solution is, don't think about it and get out there to enjoy the rest of the glorious afternoon. I am going to put the responses aside; it will make more work for me leading into Tuesday--and I still have to do all the marking of preliminary essays for the 101 class--but I think I'm hitting the point of diminishing returns. It's better for me to face the student assignments when I'm in a calmer and more relaxed frame of mind, so, well, I'll do the Scarlett O'Hara thing.
And it really is a gorgeous day.