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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

New semester: Day 1

I actually need to start with a P.S.: the person whose schedule I almost screwed up is turning into a minor-league problem. Apparently, she is so certain that Scheduling does something nefarious in assigning online courses that she misreads every e-mail I send, trying to explain. I finally said that we need to talk, face to face, so I can make sure she understands. What's weird is, I'm actually on her side--or I think I am--but perhaps not in a way that she recognizes as an alliance. I'm about to give up on the attempt to get her to understand (as well as my attempts to understand her, although she's a fascinating specimen). And I have zero clue what ultimately happened with her schedule, but at this point, I don't give a rat's petite patoot.

But moving forward into this new and wonderful semester (hey, no dubious snorts over there), I've met with both groups of students in electives. I have already put in a request for a room change for the SF class: five people didn't show up today, and it's a damned good thing, as there'd have been nowhere to put them. I know the attrition will probably start soon, so I may be able to say "never mind" about the request for a change--although if we were changed into a room where the AC works (and the heat, once that becomes the issue), that would be nice. My overall read of the students is that they're ready, willing and able to be engaged. A few may be bubble-heads, and there is already one obvious guinea pig who will need to be suppressed regularly (note to self: lay in a supply of burlap bags). One student is obviously one who has trouble with text: he is proactive about his education and made sure to sit down with me after class to be sure he understood everything, but it as also clear that the handouts were confusing/daunting--and I got the sense that the confusion was simply a visual overload: too many words on the page and his brain fritzes out. But, hey. As long as he is willing to come to me with his questions, we're golden. He also said that he knew that sometimes you work your ass off and get a C; other times, you don't work hard at all and get an A. I asked him to come to all my classes to explain that fact. What a relief to have a student with that attitude. Perfect.

Mystery and detective seemed more subdued today--and weirdly, I was just a shade more fierce in response (looking for reaction? I'll have to ponder that). I don't think I came across as scary, and in both classes, students were willing to admit that they were a little daunted by the amount of reading and worried about whether they could keep up. I reassured them that I'm willing to ditch readings if we need more time, and that I'd check in with them about it as we go along. In the Mystery class, there was one student who was very worried about whether there would be clear handouts explaining what needs to happen. Yes, I said, always--and if you're not getting it from me fast enough, you can go to Blackboard and download it; if it's not on Blackboard, you can e-mail me to ask for it. I see her concern as a good sign: she wants to be sure she knows what's expected of her.

Both classes are a little freaked out by their initial writing assignment--which is 300 words, for heaven's sake--and how that assignment relates to their reading responses. But I want them to read the handout that I wrote about the reading process and their reading responses first; then we can spend all of Thursday talking about that.

And I already was talking about how they could turn in the 300-word thing next Tuesday--but next Tuesday follows a Monday schedule. Oops. I have to go over the schedule with them to point out the two places where it gets wonky; I think there are only two....

Little stupid bits and orts of things in my mind:

I ordered or made copies of articles I already have about a zillion copies of in a drawer. Shit. Oh well.

Our new very jazzy printer is wonderful--but it can't print the index cards that I use for student information. Shit. Really, shit. No oh well there. I have to either figure out how to print the cards some other way (I'd use my printer at home, but it's an ink-jet, so if the cards get wet, the ink will run) or I have to devise another system entirely. As I said, Shit.

Apparently, in the mass order of books for the Mystery class, I left one out. Thank god one of the administrators of the campus bookstore has been placing all kinds of last-minute orders for me--cheerfully. Blessings abound.

I have completely lost track of what I have/what I need in terms of handouts for classes. I did make copies of the first essay assignment for Mystery--and then ended up finding an error and deciding to make a rather significant change, so I have to do that all over again.

Former student from last year's 101 is suddenly in SF: apparently someone dropped and he jumped in. Happy about that. So that's three students who followed me, despite my being away for a semester.

Advisement tomorrow. I wonder how wild and woolly that will be.

I'm tired. Brain is shuttering shop for the night. Hasta manana.

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