I don't know, maybe over the sabbatical I had a personality transplant that I wasn't aware of or something, but I cannot seem to get rid of students from my literature electives. I was sure that, once I gave the papers back to them, they'd leave in droves--but they're not: they're still there. I think I persuaded the student who can't read the books in the SF class that she really needs to withdraw, but it was a hell of a battle. There are a number of students I was certain would respond to their grades with the usual, "Fuck you, you bitch" attitude and leave--and instead, they're coming up to me with trembling earnestness, asking what they can do to improve.
Where did I put my bitchitude? Where's my monster outfit? Who kept the dragon in her cave? What in the sam-hill is going on here? If they continue to hang on, I'm going to be stuck grading all those papers all semester. That just cannot be cosmically right. It really can't.
But both classes did go well today, which is nice. They're really generally pretty great classes, in terms of what happens in the course of the 75 minutes when we meet. The SF students are a step or two better than M&D in terms of carrying the discussion out of their small groups and into the class as a whole, but they're both fine--and fun. I like that they're how I end my weeks.
Shifting back to the attrition issue, however, it is indeed ironic that the one class where I'm losing students is the 101, where I didn't have enough to lose. (Oh, and I just remembered, Mr. Over-Enthusiastic "But I was sick"? On the day when the paper was due, the other students told me they'd seen him, just before class started, downstairs in the food court. Must have been an awfully sudden illness.)
In any event, I did get the papers graded for the SF class, barely squeaked the last one out before my meeting at 11:30--but the meeting didn't fill the entire time before class at 1, so I had a little time to manage some e-mail correspondence and manage a few other things. There's still an awful lot of chaos and confusion swirling around my desk, which I'd hoped to get a handle on before I left tonight--and I'd hoped to be out of here early tonight--but a colleague/friend nabbed me before the SF class and asked if she could talk to me when we were both done with our classes tonight: she'd had a difficult experience and needed to talk to someone sympathetic. So, after class, I ended up providing her with comfort and support--which I was more than happy to do, as she's done the same for me in times past, and I'm honored that she sees me as someone she can turn to when she's in some distress. But as a consequence, it's 8 p.m. and I can either be here even later but leave things somewhat more organized, or I can leave sooner but come in to more chaos on Monday.
I think I'll opt for the latter. Next week will be an odd week: Tuesday follows a Wednesday schedule; then we have Wednesday off for Veteran's day. I strongly suspect I'll take a huge stack of homework for the lit electives home with me to mark on Wednesday, even though every fiber of my being will be saying, "No!!!! Stay in sloppy clothes, eat bon-bons and read mindless fluff all day!!" But it's just a perfect chance to get all the stuff cleared out of my office, and that would feel so very very very good to do that I think I have to do it--and look forward to a real break for Thanksgiving (and I will decidedly be giving thanks for the break, believe me). I'm going to have a helluva lotta work to do on Monday, not just for the 101 but some committee stuff that I have to take care of before I forget all about it--both for the seminar hours committee and the reading of promotion folders for P&B (which must be done before we have a make-up meeting on Thursday).
Now, however, I will at least pick the stacks of paper up off the floor, and pull the pages I printed out of the printer to add to the stacks of paper I'm picking up off the floor, and I'll consider that as organized as I need to get for now. I'm heading home. I have no idea what tomorrow is, but it sure as hell ain't today, and that's a good thing.