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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

And just like that, whack, I hit the wall

I was so sure I was going to get all the 101 papers graded tonight. Nope. That dang-blanged wall came up all of a sudden and I feel more than a bit like a crash-test dummy. Or some kind of dummy.

I'm hoping madly that the fact that a minor miracle occurred and tomorrow's scheduled observation was, in fact, postponed (hallelujah and pass the coffee!) will balance out the fact that I still have three 101 papers to grade before I can dive back into the SF mess.

I was about to blithely say, "Well, worst case scenario, I return the papers to the SF students next Tuesday"--but I keep forgetting that next Tuesday follows a Wednesday schedule, so if I don't get their papers back to them on Thursday, I'll have to move the date when the revisions are due again, and I don't feel like farting around with that assignment schedule any more thank you very much.

I'm also realizing we've definitely gotten to the peak of the semester roller-coaster: it's about time to hold onto our collective hats and scream.

SF went OK today. I didn't put them in groups (always a mistake)--but I wanted to be sure to give them some set-up of the social and environmental issues behind Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl, so I ended up doing more "chalk and talk" than I normally do. Of course, I also forgot to give them the "explicit material" advisory that I'd planned. I thought, "Well, maybe I can wait until next class"--but I looked, and nope: the extremely explicit scene of sexual violence is in chapter 2. So I dutifully called everyone, or e-mailed the few I couldn't call for one reason or another, and told them (or left messages) with the warning. Most of the students I actually spoke to were pretty amused that I felt the need to give them the warning--but really, when they get to the scene, they may be glad I did. They were thrown by some of the stuff in Oryx and Crake, and it's tame by comparison.

As Paul noted, however, for many of them, this may make them more likely to actually read the book--especially when I tell them that there is another, similarly explicit scene later.

Um, um, what else.

Oh, part of why I didn't get more grading done is because I was trying to juggle getting things set up for the grade grievance which I think I've mentioned as being among my P&B duties. In today's meeting, we sorted out what has to happen when--including the fact that, because of the "Tuesday is a Wednesday" thing next week, we have to meet on Thursday (which reminds me that I have to tell all my students that my office hour will be canceled next Thursday). But I was going bonkers yesterday because I wasn't going to have time to review the promotion applications by today--and I sure wasn't the only one. But now I have until next Thursday to do that, and until the following Tuesday to look over the finalized sabbatical applications. There's more work coming down the pipeline--including interviewing potential new adjuncts--but I'm relatively certain (knock wood knock wood) that after this week, I won't be in the pressure cooker any more, just at the usual rolling boil.

As for the pressure cooker, I confess I probably could have kept grading a while longer tonight, but part of why the wall suddenly appeared is that I remembered I have to go to the store on my way home tonight--and since I'm doing the "alarm at six to be on campus by 9" thing for the rest of this week, I'd like to be out of here before 9 p.m. tonight. There is a swirl of chaos around my desk that I'd like to bring to some kind of slightly more organized chaos, and then, faithful readers, I'm outta here.

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