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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Sleep helped--a little

When the alarm went off this morning, yesterday's headache was still with me, so I decided to sign out of Advisement "sick" and go back to sleep to see if that would help. It did--no more headache, thank god--but I'm still ridiculously tired. I do not bounce back from a few nights of insufficient sleep as quickly as I did when I was young and spry.

Ah well.

It was nice to sit in my own office for a while before the poetry class and to get caught up on some student assignments--primarily the discussion boards. I've been very lax about checking them, and the students have been even more lax about posting. But I updated the trackers for their discussion board post marks ("zero, zero, zero, zero") and distributed those to students in class today; I also have them ready for tomorrow's 101.

The poetry class was marginally successful today. The best bit was at the end of class, a student who is not an absolute wizard at interpretation was there for a while after all the other students had left, and I praised her for being willing to contribute to the class discussion. And she is: she's very willing to express her confusions, to ask questions--and although earlier in the term I was pretty sure she was plagiarizing, now I'm pretty sure she isn't, and her work on her responses is excellent. She doesn't necessarily get to a solid interpretation, but that's not the point. The point is that she's working her butt off looking at the poems in fine detail (and "fine" can be understood in two of its meanings there). I just want the students to be engaged in the process, and more of them are exhibiting that engagement. Fair enough.

The 101 class was pretty much as inert as usual. There were more students there today--including two young women I was sure had disappeared, one of whom was in 101 with me last semester and had to withdraw for precisely the same reasons she should withdraw now. Class ended way early--I'm not going to try to keep them when nothing is happening--so I had a good chunk of time in which to talk to those two young women about the fact that they are extremely unlikely to be able to pull out even a D, given how much work they've missed. They both said they didn't want to give up that easily, that they want to remain in the class and give it their best shot. I have very mixed feelings about that, and I'm never quite sure how best to handle it. On the one hand, I think there is a fair amount of self-delusion going on: they are "determined" to do everything right from here on out, but I don't think either has a sense of what that actually entails or a realistic appraisal of what she truly can do. On the other hand, I have to admire the tenacity and determination. It's a little like admiring someone who believes he or she can use a pogo-stick to jump across the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, but far be it from me to discourage a student from the attempt to turn things around. I did say that my advice would be that they withdraw, and that my concern is that they'll put in all kinds of energy and effort and still not pass (I didn't mention the notion of the "mercy D"), but if they want to stick it out, OK. My nose remains unskinned. I'd wager that both will, at some point, realize that the option to withdraw actually is the correct option (or that one or the other will simply vanish), but sure, I'll let 'em try.

As for my own work load, having collected papers from the poetry class and from one of the 101s, with more to come tomorrow, I certainly have plenty of work I could/should do tonight. But ... nah. I'm going home. Tomorrow, as well all know very well by this time, is, in fact, another day. I have a meeting and a seminar-hours appointment, but there isn't anything I absolutely must return tomorrow that hasn't already been taken care of--and for the rest, I reckon students will get stuff back soon enough, and with more intelligent (and intelligible) evaluations than I'd be capable of at this particular juncture.

And with that (plus a little post-post noodling, I suspect), I'm outta here.

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