It seems I'm not a very good judge of how much time things take. I either am in a flat-out panic because I don't think I'll have enough time for X, and then it turns out I have plenty of time, time left over--or I'm blithely optimistic that I'll get a lot of stuff done, and don't.
Today was closer to the latter. When I left last night I was sure I'd be started on the papers for the T/Th 101 by now. Instead, I still have one and a half to mark for the M/W class. No panic yet; I should be able to get them done in Advisement tomorrow, and maybe tomorrow I can start on the T/Th batch--and there should be time on Thursday for me to finish up. Of course, I'm still collecting homework, will have the preliminary essays from both 101s by the end of the week, and have the papers from the Poetry class yet to tackle, but, well, there it is. As long as I can have the decks pretty well clear before the break, I'll be happy--because then I'll be able to have a real break.
I just got distracted by looking at the discussion board posts for the two 101s--and the difference between the two classes is glaringly obvious. Last week, I guess it was, I talked to the students again about the need to post to the discussion boards, and the importance of the "discussion" part of that equation. From the M/W class? Virtually no response. From the T/Th class? Almost everyone is posting, including students who hadn't before--and they're responding to each other's posts, truly engaging in a discussion. In fact, I overheard the conversation in one group today, and one young man was winding up a woman in his group--until she realized he was reacting to her post, at which point she started to laugh.
That group is simply great. I'm grateful to have them--and enormously grateful that I get to end my weeks with them.
Shifting gears abruptly, I have to say that P&B is lucky as hell to have me on the committee. Interestingly enough, although Cathy is technically the second in command, Bruce turns to me to keep the agenda moving forward and to help him remember things. I confess I did derail the conversation briefly myself--Bruce was relaying an anecdote about a faculty member who drives me absolutely bat shit--but I also brought us back to focus.
One last note about the day before I head out, the Timid Intellectual showed up today during my seminar hours; her class was canceled, so she just dropped by to chat. I'd told her that she needed to start calling me by my first name, and she said she would--but it was weird, not only because of the shifting of the professor-student boundary but also because her mother and I have the same first name: spelled and pronounced the same way. There aren't many of us out there. But we had a great chat--just about stuff, everything from our problems with food to reading to, well, I don't remember what all. She's really opening up, becoming a great deal less timid. And, as a truly gratifying grace note, when P&B was starting, Cathy told me that when she'd gone in to get an MRI yesterday, the technician saw that Cathy works at NCC and asked her if she knew me. Cathy said yes, and the woman said that I had saved her daughter's life--and the daughter in question was my Timid Intellectual. I don't know that I saved her life, but I'm honored and touched to know that I had an important impact on the young woman. I think I'll only be the first of many people who will support and encourage this young woman, now that she's started to realize how much she has to offer the world--and how much acceptance she can find in the world--but I'm profoundly gratified to know that I happened to be there when she needed someone.
I don't think there's any way to end this on a better, happier note, so I'll leave it at that.