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Monday, November 2, 2015

Can't be done

I walked in to the office today, saw Paul sitting there, and instead of my heart lifting at the sight of my dear friend and office husband, it sank: oh fuck, I thought, I have to read promotion folders--and there's a shitload of them.

Well, it simply cannot be done. I just sent an e-mail to P&B saying that I won't have them read--in fact, honestly, I may not even have all the folders for my three mentees read (though I have done Paul's, which was a pleasure). I made a tactical error in terms of the triage with student assignments: since the M&D students are reviewing the first four chapters of An Unsuitable Job for a Woman for class tomorrow, I thought it might help them to have their previous responses back, so I've been working on those--but at the expense of getting the papers marked for the SF class, and I had blissfully forgotten that I have a meeting having to do with an aspect of seminar hours scheduled on Thursday, right smack in the middle of a period of time I was planning on having free. I've asked the other two people involved if we can reschedule, but if we can't, I really do have to do it: I've already been negligent about following through on the issue (dammit), so I can't blow it off.

But this really, truly, no kidding around, means I have to call in "sick" to Advisement on Wednesday. Not only do I have to get the papers marked for the 101 class--and I have an observation on Wednesday (unless something happens to postpone that, which would be wonderful but which I can't count on)--but I absolutely positively must have the papers back to the SF class. I did grade a few (a very few) on Friday, but nowhere near enough to take the pressure off this week.

So, it's going to be another week of getting up at 6 a.m. and being here until between 8 and 9 p.m., grinding away like a fiend--and taking reading home to stay on top of the SF class (as we're starting The Windup Girl for Thursday's class--and I'm very apprehensive about how the students will do with that).

Speaking of the few papers I graded for the SF class, and my concerns about their ability to handle Bacigalupi (author of Windup Girl), I marked the paper written by one of the students who came to my office because she was struggling in the class--and even though her responses had given me cause for concern, I had no clue how profoundly lost she was until I read her paper. I couldn't even mark it. I could weep for the poor thing: she can't understand the books on even the most basic, fundamental, simplistic level--and they're really not hard reading. I just started grading the paper for another student who was also in here, worried about the class, and although it has some problems, at least she understands the reading well enough to say something about it. The other one? I don't know what to say to her. I honestly don't. I spent a lot of time this weekend trying to figure out how to talk to her about the depths of the problem.

Whoof. It's depressing to contemplate.

On the other hand, the students in the 101 today were doing great. It was "peer review" day, and even though one student arrived late, which made the peer review process a little bumpy, they did a great job--and at the end of class, they were asking questions to make sure they understood the process. Something about the way they were asking questions, their concern to get it right, made me feel great about being a teacher: they're getting it. They are starting to grasp the concepts and gain some confidence, and I'm very proud of them.

Except Mr. Super-Enthusiastic. Who wasn't there--despite his whole big speech a while back about how he was going to turn everything around, how he'd made mistakes but he now understands the process and he's going to do everything absolutely right. The other students had even seen him downstairs in the dining area earlier--and he was conspicuously absent.

But the young woman who showed up late was ecstatic because I told her she could change her paper before I evaluated it: she can add to it, upload the new and improved version tonight, and drop off the new and improved for me tomorrow morning--because I won't be grading any papers tonight anyway: I'm going out for steak and scotch with Paul and William, goddammit, even if I have to get up at 6 tomorrow morning and will no doubt feel like 17 kinds of hell because of tonight's overindulgence.

I have about five more minutes to pull things together here in the office before I load William into my car and drive him gently to the lovely steak house where we will meet Paul, and then, well, we'll see what the morrow brings.

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