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Saturday, July 23, 2016

The endless tweaking of handouts...

I've spent all day at it--again, for the umpteenth time: I've been going through all the handouts I have for the fall semester, from syllabi to essay assignments, and have been tweaking, rewording, adding (rarely subtracting), clarifying... For one brief and rather frightening moment I thought I was going to have to completely tear up the schedule for the 102s--and I'll probably end up wishing I had, as I've given myself zero time to respond to papers before conferences begin. But, because of the imperatives of seminar hours, and my desire to use them productively, I really do want to do conferences. So even though I know I'll be kicking myself and complaining mightily about it when I start getting those essays to mark, I've left the schedule as is. There were a few other options for how to reschedule the process, but I was really hamstrung by the days when campus is closed for the Jewish holidays: there just is no flexibility in the schedule until after the first two essays need to be completed, so, well, I'll do the best I can with it all.

I've made conferences mandatory for the 102s, and I'll make conference times available for the SF students in the week before their revisions are due--but since the revisions are optional, so are the conferences. And we know what that means: the students who really need to conference and revise won't; the students who would do fine even without the conference will meet with me--perhaps multiple times.

But, there it is. I was talking to Ed earlier about how much work I've done over my years at NCC to make the job less stressful, less frustrating, less debilitating. It's still all those things--but not as much as it used to be. I know the conferencing will bring a bit of both into the mix: some stress and frustrations (and thus, some debilitation, in terms of depletion of my mental and physical energies), but also--or so goes the theory--some alleviation of all that, as the resulting revised essays should be markedly better.

I do have to talk to poor Lori when she's back from vacation about how to block out huge chunks of time during the conference weeks so I can schedule those appointments. But that's a worry for another day--as is the setting up of everything on Blackboard. It was enough today to proofread everything. I don't always get a chance to do that, and it felt good to find mistakes and things to improve. I didn't quadruple check the dates and days of the week--which I need to do before I decide everything is complete--but I've e-mailed versions of everything to myself so many times, it's getting ridiculous. (I e-mail to whichever computer I'm not using: if I'm home, I e-mail to work, and vice versa. I also back up on a thumb drive, but I can't count on remembering to get the most up-to-date versions off the thumb drive and onto the correct computer.)

Anyway, how else should one spend a day when the temperatures are in the 90s? Working on school stuff is a good excuse to stay inside where it's at least marginally cooler.

The latest check of enrollment in my own courses indicates no movement since--well, a long time ago. Four in one 102, six in the other, ten in SF. When I look across the department, some sections have turned around nicely; others are still in very scary territory (for some professors, every single class on their schedule is dangerously low). As I've said, I just hope to hell Bruce has a plan, because otherwise, we're fucked.

But that's a worry for another day (says Scarlett). Today, I say, enough done. I'll type up corrections tomorrow--and no doubt find even more things I want to fix--and then I'll take a little break from school work again. That's the "summer off" part: I don't have to work every single day.

Oh, and as a sort of P.S.: I haven't heard anything from the student who needs to fulfill the incomplete in some time, so I have no idea if her final essay is waiting for me or not. It wasn't there when I was on campus last week--and I'm damned if I'm going back just to look for it. If I have another good reason to be on campus, OK. Otherwise, she'll just have to wait until I get around to it--or she'll have to contact me (which is beginning to feel highly unlikely).

There. Done. For today,

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