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Monday, November 23, 2015

By the numbers

The 101 class is--or will be, by Wednesday--down to five students. I really should boot one more, so we're down to the core 4 who are thinking and doing at least most of the work. Even two of those four are still missing a hell of a lot of work, but I got rid of one student who simply wasn't turning in work at all and the student who seemed incapable of understanding any kind of instructions, written or oral.

I got all the revisions for M&D marked, and I have eleven to mark for SF. I'd love to get them done before class tomorrow, though I don't know if that's possible, since I have to meet with the colleague whose class I observed last week (a conversation I am not looking forward to in the least) and I think a student is supposed to drop by, too--but it might be worth getting up at six to do my best to crank 'em out. If I can get those off my desk, then I'd be down to the preliminary essays from the 101 class, and essay 2 from M&D and SF. That's still a hell of a lot, but all I can do is keep chipping away.

Of course, part of me hopes that some of the students in the lit electives get their revisions back, see that their grades didn't change, and take that as the final straw that leads them to visit me with an Add/Drop form--emphasis on the "drop" portion of that form. That would reduce the number of papers I have to grade even for essay 2, not to mention the final essay.

Really, it's just all about the numbers: how many students, how high--or, more often, low--the marks are, how many assignments are left to crunch through, how many weeks/days I have left to crunch through everything, how many hours in each day.

Another interesting number: the cost of getting that reading done at Staples. I hadn't thought that through very carefully, had rather deluded myself about the cost per copy at an outfit like that. Just to have the copies done--never mind any kind of binding to hold it all together--would have been almost $300. I know it's an expense I can write off my taxes, but, um, no: I decided to throw myself on the mercy of the printing office here. I walked the pages over to them on my way to advisement and was abject and cringing and pleading--and the woman who manages the orders said that they're in a "lull" right now so they might even be able to get the job done for me in the next few days. Oh, god, the relief. Of course, until I actually have the copies in hand, I'm not going to celebrate for sure, and already have a plan B in mind (copy the pages for the first assignment on the day when I need to hand 'em out), but it looks like the gods have smiled on me once again--maybe. Cause for gratitude indeed. And I'll buy that department a huge gift basket from Fairway as thanks. They're doing me an enormous favor, and I do appreciate it, greatly.

I'm curious to know what things will look like in Advisement on Wednesday. I know a lot of professors have canceled classes--but it may still be very busy in there, as it has been since enrollment started. As for my own class, after we talked it over, I said I'd be there for anyone who wanted to come by and talk about a for the next paper, and if no one showed up, no problem: I'd just grade papers. I didn't get as much done over this past weekend as I'd hoped--though I did at least get some done, which was a help--and the more I can get done before the holiday, the less I'll have to carry home with me to do over next weekend. My self-discipline is not always of the best when I try to work at home, but I really do want this current batch of crap out of my hair--and the students really do need it back so they can revise if they're going to. We're right on top of final papers, so time's of the essence. (That's the most important number: the horrifyingly fast count down to the end of semester.)

And for the first time since 2001, I think I may be here the day after classes end to crunch the numbers for final grades and get all my paperwork done. I may change my mind, but at the moment, it seems less stressful to plan for that than to try to shove everything through to finish on the 22nd after the M&D class gets out. But we'll see.

I have an itchy sense that there was something else I wanted to say, but whatever it was, it's gone now. Can't have been very important--or it will come back to me and I'll write about it some other time. For now, it's time to slowly and with careful thought pack up what I need to take home tonight and, with calming breaths, gradually make my way out of the office.

Tomorrow is another day, after all, and I can think about it all then, you know, when I'm stronger.

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