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Monday, December 21, 2015

Tomorrow, the big crunch (not the of the universe, just my own)

I'm not talking about the idea of expanding and contracting universes here, just what it takes to get through the end of semester. Weirdly, for reasons I can't explain, yesterday I had a whalloping case of the blues: the "I can't get off the couch; I can't do anything but read dopey mysteries" kind of day. I managed to finally lever myself out of the supine position and put in a little bitty bit of semester prep on the spring 101s, but I'd intended to have a glorious, burning, churning, productive day of semester prep. Nope. Didn't happen.

And of course, there was a constant stream of students in Advisement today (who are these people? Don't they have anything better to do, like study for finals, or write final papers, or Christmas shop or something?), so I didn't get any work done. But I have just completed all the papers for students who wanted to get their work back in the classes tomorrow, and I filled out all the final paperwork for the teeny-tiny 101.

So, tomorrow means whipping my way through the papers and unread last-minute reading responses for the lit electives, crunching the numbers, filling out the forms, and putting the grades on Banner. I would be beyond ecstatic if I can get all that done with enough time left over to also send the packet of stuff to be copied for the first few weeks of class for the 101s--though it may not be necessary, if the numbers don't suddenly increase rather astronomically. Normally, there'd be a chance for Bruce to cancel some sections and spread the students around among the remaining sections, but he's already canceled sections: in the time slots when my classes run, I've got one of two sections, the other also being taught by a full-time professor. So we really have to hope for an uptick in registration. In any event, if the classes stay small, I have enough copies of things already that I may be able to fill in what I need just by copying myself on the machines downstairs, without having to call on the Printing office. I'll keep an eye on it all and see.

The same holds true for the Poetry class. Right now, there are seven students registered (all young women so far, which is interesting). I didn't see it on the potential chopping block when I was assigning adjunct courses, but I may talk to Bruce about it tomorrow, see if there's something I could pick up if it doesn't run. There's an unassigned 102, for instance--though I may well have assigned it to a senior adjunct, in which case ... well, I won't get into the minutiae of that domino chain. We'll see what happens, I reckon. But this is the kind of think I'll be working on with Bruce the week of January 11.

I want so shift gears back to today, however. The 101 students were very sweet. One rather annoyed me in her self-evaluation: she said she never did the online discussion board posts because she didn't think they'd be useful (to which I wanted to reply, "How would you know, since you never tried them out?"), but mostly they seemed to have gotten out of the class exactly what I most hoped for: that writing is a process; that to write well, they need to go over their papers more than once; that finding information is interesting; that it feels good to be treated like a responsible adult. The young man with the frat boy demeanor said that the first time we went through the rather involved process I take them through, he couldn't see how it could make any difference, thought it would be just a big waste of time--but by the second time, he was sold on it: he knew it would make his writing better to do the process. The one thing they wanted was more review of sentence-level mechanics--and I can see how to make that part of the mechanics review day. It's hard for me to teach about sentence fragments and that sort of bilge without it becoming deadly dull.

(Oops. Sorry: I'm back. I just went over to see if I could find some humorous ways to teach sentence stuff, and apart from a few rather grand bits on very specific issues, I couldn't find anything on the absolute basics, like, you know, the boring stuff: sentence fragments and that sort of bilge.)

And OMIGOD I just saw what time it is. What am I still doing here? Time to go home time to go home time to go home. I have to be back here way too soon as it is.

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