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Wednesday, November 4, 2015


I'm damned near blind, I know I'm getting loopy, I have to be back here in about 12 hours, I have four more papers to grade before my 11:30 meeting, I need to be something approaching competent and intelligible at 11:30 (not to mention prior to that, when I'm grading those last four papers), and at this point, I want someone to wave a magic wand so I'm already home, fed (the cats too), and asleep in bed.

I still have one more chapter of Windup Girl to read before class tomorrow, too.

And I meant to get cat food on the way home today, but the pet store will close before I can get there. Ye gods and little fishes.

The main interaction of the day that I want to record, however, is that I booted Mr. Over-Enthusiastic from 101 today. I felt bad about the way I did it: I was too abrupt and fierce at first, but I was also pissed off, because he tried exactly the same routine he did with the last paper: "I have it!" Me: "It's too late." Him: "But I was sick!!" Me: "You didn't contact me..." Him (slight change of the routine: last time he said he didn't know how to contact me): "I tried to contact you, I really tried!" Me: "I have a phone: no message. I have e-mail: no message. You didn't upload it to Turnitin. Nothing."

I won't continue the play-by-play of the interaction, but he vacillated between being angry and starting to cry--and the part that hurt me was when, after I'd told him he needed to withdraw and had no other options in terms of this class, in all sincerity and with real regret, he said, "But then I won't see you again!" I told him he could take 101 in the Winterim--and he wanted to take it from me. I told him I don't teach in the Winterim. I said he could, if he wanted, wait until spring and take 101 from me again in the spring--but that I don't want him to delay his progress; what I really want, I told him, was for him to take 101 in the Winterim, take 102 from someone else in the spring, and then take whatever literature elective I'm teaching next fall--that I'd love to have him in one of my classes when he's gotten his feet under him and is really up and running as a student.

And that's true. I wouldn't be completely unhappy to have him in one of my 101s in the spring, but honestly, I'd prefer to have him as a student again after he's done a little more growing up.

The other thing that bothered me is that the other students were upset to know that he was leaving the class. I know they were driven somewhat nuts by him, but they also liked him--they're such a small group, they're really bonded--and I think they felt hurt on his behalf. I said that he was having health issues that were keeping him from getting his work done (well, he did tell me he'd been sick both times he'd had to submit the first "real" version of papers)--and after a little awkwardness, the rest of the students settled down and got to work.

I really love that class. I do. There are still two students in there, possibly three, who are teetering on the brink of not being able to make it, but the rest are really good: they're learning, they're working hard, they care. One of them--the one with the frat boy outside and the genuine sweetness inside--is struggling to find a clear focus and has sort of slacked off on the work from time to time. At one point, when they were supposed to have come in to class with articles they'd found doing their own research, he didn't have anything with him, and I said, "So, you didn't have a chance to do the research?" He said, "I probably had chances, but I didn't do it." I admire the honesty, and I told him so. He was the first to come to the desk where I was working to talk to me about my comments on his paper--and I think he's catching on now to what he has to do. I think most of them are.

I could probably natter on for a while here--I'm sort of in Energizer Bunny mode (when I'm running on fumes, it's particularly hard for me to let go and wind down because I'm so afraid I'll crash completely and not be able to get going again--and I have another big day in front of me tomorrow)--but really, I do need to get home. And I really can't see very well, so it's time to stop looking at letters and to look at things further away from my face...

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