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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Close, but no cigar

Well, I fucked up. I woke up at 4:54, realized I would be paralytically tired, and reset the alarm for its usual time. I tried to hustle through my morning routine to get to campus somewhat early anyway--and failed at that, too. I was extremely fortunate that I only had to advise one student (and help a colleague with another), so I did spend most of the time in Advisement marking my own student assignments, but I did not get to mark a thing during the first section of 102--and even without taking time for that, I ended up only having 5 minutes with them at the end of class to discuss the story. So I did the whole pre-paper stuff with the later section, then turned them loose to discuss--and at the last minute of the class period, I was still entering marks before returning the assignments. So that class didn't get to discuss the story with me at all, only in their groups--and I wonder how much they got wrong as a consequence.

Note to self: next time I teach 102, try to find a way to do all the pre-paper stuff either more quickly or in a class in which we're not discussing any of the literature. The latter would be better--but then I think we'd have to start drafting essays in class. That might not be altogether a bad thing, but it still means I'd have to steal a day from something somewhere else: the perennial problem of why it doesn't really work to rob Peter to pay Paul, in terms of time for discussion and work on essays.

I have to go through my backpack and sort out everything I flung in there as I was packing up to leave, including the assignments for students who weren't in class today (and therefore whose assignments I didn't have to mark, thank god).

Oh, yeah: And I forgot to have them sign up for their conferences. That's going to come back to bite me in the ass, for sure. I'm already thinking about how to make sure that students who are not in class on Wednesday to turn in an essay on time but who turn their essays in late can sign up for an appointment.

I keep thinking of the moment in G.I. Jane when, after a mission goes sideways, the Master Chief groans, "What a goat fuck." Today wasn't actually that horrible, but I do seem to smell a bit of goat...

One good thing about doing the pre-essay run-through today, though: in each class I had a student volunteer demonstrate how to log in to the Portal, access Blackboard, and access the link to submit an essay to Turnitin--and in so doing, I realized I never changed the due dates for the Turnitin links when I had to tear the schedule apart. That was the first thing I crossed off my list when I got back to the office.

No: second. The first thing I did was to put readers on the door for two students who--for whatever (stupid) reason--still didn't have their readers. I didn't quite snap heads off, but it was a near thing.

Mostly, however, I've been responding to the revised outline for Nature in Lit. I had said I'd weigh in on it, oh, about a year ago, and never did, but the colleague who created/updated the outline sent it around, and I took a look. She did an excellent job; the only thing I had to contribute was a few additional suggestions for the bibliography--and I ended up trolling through all sorts of stuff looking for the most important bits to add. Anyone who's really up to speed on ecocrit would surely point out glaring omissions from the past five years or so (or even longer), but as it was, I felt a bit bad about proposing as many additional titles as I did. Even at that, I was half tempted to suggest about a dozen more, but I had to restrain myself. Anyone who wants to teach the course will surely be exploring on his or her own--and has (I hope) enough sense to look at some of the big works about ecocriticism...

It has been nice, however, to know that I don't actually need to mark anything tonight--or indeed tomorrow morning, unless I want to. What I have in hand right now is pretty minimal and not crucial to return; the main reason to mark anything tomorrow will be to have my feet completely clear for the onslaught of essays that I'll receive tomorrow and next Wednesday.

Along those lines, nice moment this evening: a student from the SF class came to me for help with the focus of his essay. I'm not entirely sure that he soaked in what I was suggesting, but he seemed at least reassured (or maybe he simply wanted me to think he was so he could escape). Mostly, I'm just delighted he came to see me--and that I could record the appointment in my seminar hours. (Woot! Woot!)

But shifting gears to the "I want to get out of the office" gear, I need to make sure I have printouts of a few things that I need to photocopy, and at least a vague sense of a triage list for tomorrow, either before the 11:30 meeting of our departmental curriculum committee or after class. I will be taking work home over the weekend again--mostly with the intention to work on Monday--so I need to have a clear sense of what to prioritize and how.

Once I've got that done, you can take your Crayolas and color me gone.

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