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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Upsy-downsy

I had to get up extra early this morning in order to get all the papers marked for today's class--and I managed to do that, with a tiny bit of time to spare. The students were, as always, delightful. They're working hard, earnest, taking care of each other, filled with energy and enthusiasm ... it just doesn't get much better.

There are, of course, a few flies in the metaphoric ointment. One student whom I suspect of being a bullshit artist was absent both Tuesday and today--and today there was an e-mail from him saying he didn't want to be gross, but he'd had a stomach bug for more than 72 hours. Uh-huh. Perhaps true, perhaps not, but at this point, it doesn't matter. He asked what he could do, and I made the strong recommendation that he withdraw. He's reminding me more and more of the student I had several semesters ago who seemed bright enough but who had one excuse after another--and ended up A) failing the course and B) writing a self-evaluation in which she first said she'd learned a lot, followed by clear statements that she really couldn't learn anything from my class because she already knew it all. I'm getting the same vibe from this young man: I think he believes he can BS his way through and out of anything--and he's going to be in for a very rude awakening. However, I'm also quite sure that, if he does stay in the class and either gets a D or fails (which is more likely), he will be absolutely certain that the problem is that I'm a bitch.

Which I am, or can be, but that's not why he's likely to fail the class if he doesn't withdraw.

Another student who has lots of promise also ended up falling down on the paper--and has been missing the discussion board posts. He at least is adult enough to acknowledge that he has a responsibility and that he's not fulfilling it, but he's pretty much in the same boat: he has a better chance of passing than Mr. BS, but not with the kind of grade I'm sure he could earn in different circumstances.

Then there's the kid--and he is a kid--who wandered off in a waft of pot smell on Tuesday. He came to class today, but he said he probably needs to withdraw. He's beating himself up about it, that he "should" be doing better. Perhaps he should, but the self-flagellation doesn't help, generally speaking. (I should know: I beat myself up all the time and it doesn't get me much of anywhere at all.) I said I thought he was making a wise decision. Now all he has to do is follow through on the actual withdrawal process.

One young woman was there today--long saga about missed e-mail communications--but I printed her paper from Turnitin, and that printout revealed a fair amount of plagiarism. I'll let her rework the paper, and I won't give her the zero she deserves for this submission--though I'm not quite sure why I made that decision. I'm doing the same for another student, a very sweet seeming young woman who is also in trouble because of absences, in addition to the plagiarism issue.

Nevertheless, the majority of the students who are left are pure delight. Again, I express my gratitude to the gods of class chemistry that this is how I end my work week.

Of course, my desk is piled high with a lot of things I will need to tend to as soon as I can--but that "can" is a very flexible word at the moment. I could take care of some of those things tonight, but I'm not going to. Everything that's sitting there can--and will--wait until next week. That's when I'll start pushing myself to get through the big heaps of whatever.

Now, however, I think I have everything packed up that I'll need for Monday, so I can do the usual pinball thing of Advisement-Poetry-101 without touching base in the office. And that means I'm ready to roll out of here for the weekend. The plants are watered, and I've noodled just about as much as I care to for now.

So, my faithful readers, I'll be back posting on Monday. Bon weekend, y'all.

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