I got the papers graded in plenty of time for today's class. In fact, I had time to eat lunch and talk with Paul--and to stare at all the other stuff I have to mark, approach it and then back off several times. I finally realized that I had used up every bit of today's quotient of intelligence and ability to comprehend and comment constructively. As my regular readers know, I loathe bringing work home at all, especially over the weekend, but this weekend is one of those rare times when needs must. I've had to give up on the battered "vanilla" folder that says "To Be Marked" and instead have begun to use a large, plastic expanding folder, the kind I use for each class (each with a different colored ribbon to tie the flap closed). I don't have that many students in any of the classes--mercifully--but when the 101s have all the stages of an essay collected together, along with their sources, each individual submission can get relatively massive. Even my extra-large stapler can't manage some of the submissions, and the paper folder simply couldn't expand far enough. (It's also falling to bits and needs to be given an honorable disposal into the recycling bin.)
Class was a little less lively than usual at first--in part because I had everyone sit in a circle. The visibility of that was initially daunting, but pretty quickly, the conversation took off--as it always does with that group. A lot of it was me holding forth, I confess (we're talking about the environmental and health consequences of industrialized food production, so...). But most of them are interested and want answers to a bunch of questions. One young man is a little bit of a puzzle, similar to Miss Confusing in the M/W class: in class he often seems resistant, tuned out--and he's the one who made the sotto voce comment about how it wasn't fair that he was going to miss points because he missed only one class (because, I remind you, he was on vacation)--but after class, he often comes up to me to get some reassurance about his writing. He seems to understand that missing parts of the last process were detrimental to his success with the essay, and he seems to want to do well--but that could be brown-nosing. I can't tell. I'll act as if he's sincere--why not?--but I also won't be surprised if he turns out to be one of those whose end-of-semester self-evaluation is filled with barely masked vituperation.
The best news of the day is that the vote in the Academic Senate that Paul was sweating over last night turned out to be a complete win: 69 to 16 with 4 abstentions. Other measures that came up for vote were also readily passed.
None of this makes any difference just yet to the betterment of the college--and again, the administration was acting as if the only problem is that faculty are refusing to act in a spirit of collegiality. (Disdainful snort.) But the hope is that there will be a ripple effect that may affect some of SUNY's actions--as well as our Middle States accreditation review. The Middle States review team will be on campus next week, and there's going to be a special meeting of the Academic Senate for them to attend. Since there was just this substantial meeting today, it's kind of hard to figure out what might be on the agenda--but Paul and the rest of ASEC have to figure that out. I'm half tempted to go as a visitor. Half. Maybe less than half.
OK, not really, but I will be interested to hear what happens.
For now, however, it's time to roll my pack out to the car and roll myself off to dinner with Paul. Bon weekend, y'all.