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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Probably ought to, ain't gonna

Lots of work piled up on the desk again: revisions from the lit students plus their latest reading responses, a few straggling assignments from the 101 students that I really should just deal with and return--or, in the case of discussion board assignments, calculate the marks for and let them know. I managed to force myself to do the "mechanics" review for the 101 students (which I'd conveniently forgotten to do when I had their papers in front of me, so I had to do it from the Turnitin submissions, which doesn't work as well: this is why I work on hard copy, dammit), and before I go, I'll look at the background for a situation with an adjunct that needs to be handled--and that requires a 9 a.m. meeting on Wednesday morning. (For those of you who don't know me well, that's tantamount to wearing shorts while walking through a field of nettles or being trapped in a small room with about 50 very hungry mosquitoes. It's not genuine torture, but it's extremely uncomfortable.) However, once I've reviewed that material, I'll be off. (I'll also leave. (A favorite joke--and an opportunity to use nested parentheses.))

The young woman with whom I had the charming conversation on Tuesday was back in the office today. I was--as my father would have said--loaded for bear: she didn't have her revision finished in time for class today, and I was set to tear her to ribbons over it. However, she showed up to the office with the completed revision, so that strange virus "compassion" that I seem to have been infected with took over, and I accepted the revision. We did have a talk about her grade, which won't be what she wants but should--if her revision and her final paper turn out OK--be tolerable. If it turns out that the numbers are against her, I'll let her know and I'll let her withdraw, but she should be able to squeeze out a C, maybe a C+.

While I was talking with her, another student from the same class dropped by: he had turned in his revision but had forgotten to include the marked first version, so he was just dropping that off. However, he stayed for a while just to chat: what Paul calls "looking under the hood." A lot of our students are infinitely curious about us as human beings--when they can think of us as human beings at all. I told the student a little about myself, but I also told him that on the last day, I always let students ask me about myself, my life, my work, although I may not answer all their questions (I don't let them know too much about my personal life: I am fierce about the importance of boundaries in professional relationships, especially between an authority figure and the people over whom one has authority). And I'll drag in my dissertation for them to look at: they always get a charge out of that. The young man in my office tonight also asked if I ever wrote any SF myself, and I said no: I've written some fiction, mainstream, as yet unpublished, and have had one lonely poem published. He asked about it, so I told him the title, and the title of the journal in which it was published--and I told him I'd be utterly shocked if he could find it online. He's taken that as a challenge. I'll be fascinated to see what he turns up--or to have my strong hunch confirmed that he won't be able to find it.

I do like the way my weeks end. It's nice that I have both my lit electives on Thursdays, and that they're both enjoyable classes. The SF students continue to be more lively: there's just enough more intellectual wattage in the room to lift the discussions slightly above what we can get to in the M&D class. But the M&D is still lots of fun, and there are enough students who are thinking and willing to talk that I'm having a good time. And, best of all, I think they're learning something. (What exactly they're learning, I'm not entirely sure, but certainly learning.)

And that's all I've got for tonight. I'll look over that stuff for the Wednesday meeting--just to have a sense of what's coming--and then I'm outta here.



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