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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Huge relief

For once, I misread my calendar to my benefit. I was absolutely certain that I had a 10:00 seminar hours meeting followed immediately by a department meeting, followed immediately by class, followed immediately by P&B, followed immediately by class--and despite my best efforts yesterday, I didn't get all the student assignments marked and all the reading done for today's classes. I was more concerned about the enormous stack of stuff for the SF class, which for some reason was piled much higher than the stuff for M&D--and I did at least get all of that marked yesterday, and the requisite chapters of Windup Girl read, but at about midnight, as I was trying to force myself through just a few more chapters of Track of the Cat, I realized I wasn't going to make it: I was going to fall asleep, no matter what I did. I set the alarm for six--and when it went off, I said, "Nope," and reset it for seven. I didn't have a plan for what I would do in order to at least get the reading done--but the heavens smiled upon me: the back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back day is next Thursday.

O frabjous day!

I recorded grades for SF. I read chapters for M&D. I didn't get the assignments read for M&D, but enh, whatever. They'll be on top of the stack for next week. I'm so close to caught up I can almost taste it.

Or as caught up as I get. As for today's P&B, I was furious at first, because I'd killed myself--and not marked student assignments--in order to read all the promo folders, and we ended up barely talking about them today. But it turned out there were more important things on the agenda, so, I guess I'm just ahead of the game for next week's meeting, when we really will talk about the promo folders, when everyone has had a chance to read them all.

I honestly have no idea what I do with a good percentage of the time I spend working. I know I actually am working: I'm not watching funny cat videos or playing computer games, but what I am doing escapes me. I know that one thing I'll be doing over the next five days will be answering student e-mails: the SF students are going to be working on their revisions, and they don't have a lot of options for times to sit down and work with me.

I did run the "reality check" with them today: I had them get out the grade calculation sheet (and brought extras, for those who didn't have one with them); I gave them their cards, so they could record their grades (as most of them haven't been, and the few who have need to check that what they have matches what I have); and I put on the board both what they need to have to pass and what they need to have to get a grade that transfers. Unlike what I did with M&D, I also figured out what they need to earn on the rest of their assignments in order to keep that grade: in order just to pass, they need to have at least 560 points right now, and they need to earn at least 22 points on all the remaining reading responses plus the final self evaluation, and earn at least a 220 on all three papers (revised essay 1, essay 2--either the first time out or revised--and essay 3, which can't be revised). All the numbers for a C are slightly higher, obviously. I told them that if they're not really close to those numbers, if they don't have a realistic chance of catching up, they'd do better to withdraw. They don't need to hurry (I probably shouldn't have said that), but they should consider whether their time and energy would be better spent toward classes where they have a better shot at a grade that will pay off better for them.

I sort of have the feeling I'm going to be handing out a lot of "mercy D's" in those electives. A lot of students just need to pass: they want the grade so they can get their associate's degree and get the hell out of here. Fair enough. Turn in the work--all the work--and take your best shot at it, and I'll give you the D, even if you didn't really earn it.

But the poor sweet thing who couldn't make head nor tail out of the reading did withdraw today. I'm relieved. I think she's relieved. I'm happy to help her find an elective in which she can do well and have fun. I wish we offered basket-weaving. I'm not kidding: it's actually not easy, and it would be very therapeutic for a lot of the students. Meditative. Calming. Producing a thing of beauty, having a tangible result of one's work--like ceramics class. Ah well.

M&D was sort of a bust today. A lot of the students hadn't done the reading, or had barely skimmed it--and it's ridiculously easy, so they're just being fucking lazy. But I did tell them that their revisions had to be in my hands in hard copy now, uploaded to Turnitin tonight, no late papers accepted, end of story. I did allow one student to finish up tonight, leave the hard copy on the office door tomorrow--but the rest? Nope. Ship sailed. I'll be the same way with the SF students on Tuesday. The opportunity to revise is enough of a gift; don't look for extensions on that. And the super-bright student who's read everything in Portuguese was conspicuously absent today--and if I recall, he submitted a "place holder" essay, so he's now got 50 points for that 400 point assignment. I need to talk with him. I feel he's taking advantage of the fact that he's smart and knows a lot, and it's starting to really piss me off. He's going to fail the class at this rate, because he feels none of the rules should apply to him. Au contraire. I was like that as an undergrad, and I needed to get a few swift kicks to the backside to persuade me that I had to follow the rules, just like all the boring, average kids. I'm now passing along the fine tradition of knocking arrogant little brats down a peg or three. It's good for us brats to get knocked down some.

Not that that's an entirely pleasant note to end on, but honestly, I don't feel terrible about it. I hate to admit it, but part of me almost looks forward to it--not because I want to hurt the young man, but because I know what he needs and why, and that I'm actually doing something beneficial for him. Ouchy, but beneficial. And now I'm going to do something beneficial for myself and start to slowly gather myself together to roll out of here for the weekend. I am beyond tired (no wonder I misread my calendar: it's a wonder I can read anything at all), so I'm going to decant myself into my car before I end up in a little sloppy mess on the carpet here in the office.

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