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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Work versus, well, everything else

On my way back to the office after class, I realized that there is absolutely no way I can get all the paper grading done in the time frame I'd like unless I grade over the weekend. I usually resist that ferociously, as you probably all remember, but if I grid my lions and just get it done (with or without whining), I will face a much more peaceful few weeks heading into the final sprint.

Having had that realization, I decided not to even attempt to do any paper grading tonight. I intended to be out of here much earlier--to have finished posting to the blog and be in the car by 7 p.m.--but I got trapped in a little weed whacking (and yes, they're weeds of my own creation). In part because I keep stumbling across timely articles for the final paper for the 101s, and in part because a number of the students are having a relatively belated rude awakening about how many points they're missing, I have decided to allow them to earn "extra credit" (much as I loathe the concept) by giving them three additional articles that they may respond to if they choose.

I still need to create discussion boards for those three essays--which won't take long (so part of me wants to get it done tonight, but I'm not going there, or I'll end up in another patch of weeds). But I do have to remember to do it (and memory is not my strong suit under the best of circumstances. Holding on to a safety bar and screaming is not the best of circumstances.)

The poetry class was about as successful as it gets today. The 101 was infinitesimally better--because I forced the students to sit in a circle, and because one of the two adult mothers in the class brought up the fact that she knows, via her smart phone, exactly what's happening with her children at school, pretty much at any given moment. I asked the younger students, who are not long out of high school, how they'd have felt about knowing their parents could keep such close tabs on them, and the universal response was "Nuh-uh, no way." Debate (not very vigorous, but still, debate) ensued.

I have to say, I also was proud of them. I gave them three options. 1. We talk about how to start to find a focus within the very broad topic I've given them. 2. We read the article that's due Monday, paragraph at a time, and talk about it. 3. I let you go early. The majority of the students chose option 1. Good for them: they want to learn something--and they know the challenge they're facing.

Of course, I'm anticipating that things will be more lively, run better, tomorrow, but one never knows. Yesterday, one of the young women in the class asked if we could postpone the preliminary essay. I looked at the schedule with them, and when they realized how that would crunch everything else, they realized why they had to turn it around so quickly. It's preliminary, I kept saying: it will be rough. I'll go easy on it, because I know you have to crank it out fast. They were not happy, but they understood. But I do wonder how many of them will actually have the preliminary essay for me tomorrow, and how many will be late with it.

We'll see.

For now, however, if I keep blathering in this post, I'm going to be set up for another night of rush and fuss and not enough sleep. I need to get on the road. Toodle-oo.

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