I have a stack of papers that I have to mark before tomorrow's class, and I came back to the office determined to get them all done tonight before leaving, as I have a bunch of meetings with students tomorrow, plus a department meeting that I really can't miss (Bruce sent out one of his rare but significant "everyone is expected to attend" e-mails), plus P&B...
But I had to get a lot of flotsam cleared away before I could dive in and focus (instead of being distracted and worrying about those pearls falling through the floorboards), and then a student came to a meeting and we ended up talking for almost an hour--part of it about her revision and her responses (she's in the poetry class), but much of it just talk. It was great, and I absolutely love that connection with students. She started out seeming disengaged, but as the semester has gone along, she's relaxed and started to contribute more to the class conversation--and her first paper was pretty good; it just was late. She's had difficulty with some of the poems, because they hit too close to the bone: she did tell me that she was a victim of abuse and attempted rape, so some of the poems that deal very starkly with those issues recall too much trauma for her to handle well. We talked about it a bit, and I told her that she can avoid the poems if need be--but I hope she can find a way to use them for catharsis instead.
In any event, after that great conversation, I managed to finish one student paper and start another--and then I found myself making acquaintance with The Wall again. I didn't get lunch today (finishing the essays for today's 101), so I'm hungry and tired and cranky. None of which are states conducive to concentration or clarity in responding to student writing. Even though all I'm doing is mechanics review, it still requires some thought. It's a lot faster than dealing with comments on substance, but nevertheless, time gets gobbled up astonishingly rapidly.
Nevertheless, I know I can't do more tonight. I'll have to get up extra early tomorrow to try to squeeze out enough time to get all the work done before class (and I may have to skip P&B, if nothing crucial is going on), but for now, I'm "stick a fork in me" done for the day.