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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I'm so screwed...

(That's a little Farscape reference, for those of you who know Farscape.)

Despite the fact that I did a pretty good whack of assignment marking over the weekend (actually, more on Sunday than yesterday), I'm still woefully behind where I "should" be--especially as I've completely hit the wall and am incapable of marking another thing tonight. I haven't quite finished with the assignments from the earlier section of 102, and I haven't started at all on the assignments for the later one. I wouldn't be so concerned, but my experience in Advisement so far this semester has been that I actually do a fair amount of advising, and can't count on three hours of uninterrupted time in which to get my other work done. However, having bailed on last Wednesday, I don't feel I can bail again tomorrow--but I really, truly, honestly do have to have all the assignments ready to return to students tomorrow, as they are about to embark on their essays.

I think this means I have to set a super-early alarm (well, super-early for me), and get a good whack in before I go to Advisement--and even at that, I'm almost certainly going to be marking assignments during both classes, and returning them to students in the later section of 102 at the end of class, rather than the beginning.

I do not have any idea at all how I am this far behind this early in the semester--and that doesn't even touch on all the committee crapola that I need to tend to and have so far on back burners, I'm likely to forget all about it until I smell the smoke.

It would help if I could sleep, but this is becoming a vicious cycle: I am anxious, so I can't sleep, so I'm more anxious, and here we go 'round the prickly pear.

Ah, whatever. Somehow it all comes out in the end.

The SF class was pretty good today. I did have to start with some of the basics about essay writing: handout after handout after handout ("This one is about what your introductory paragraph should contain and where your thesis goes, as well as what a thesis is. This one is about how to properly integrate and cite sources. This one is about "static" errors. This one is about ..." and I don't even remember, but there were four of them.) I sat down at the computer to show them how to format an essay correctly. (A number of them will still get it wrong--but several of the brighter students asked good questions, which made me feel it wasn't a pointless exercise.) And the discussion about Androids was wonderful: we could have gone on a lot longer. It was one of those class sessions when I had to stop them when they were still eager to talk. That's both frustrating (I want them to have every opportunity to talk things out) and terrific (leave 'em wanting more!).

I was a bit saddened to be met at the door prior to class by two students--one of them potentially very good--with withdrawal slips. I should be happy (two fewer papers to grade: woo-hoo!!), but they're not the students I would like to lose. I suspect, however, that I've lost, or will lose about another five--some of whom I'd be glad to shed from the class.

The Truculent Plagiarist contacted me by e-mail earlier today to ask if we could meet. I was all set to set up an appointment, but after class he told me he'd gotten some help from the student in class whose number he'd collected the first day. I hope the help really did help, though I confess I'm not sure it will have been sufficient. However, it's also possible TTP will get more out of how a classmate explains things--assuming the classmate truly understands him- or herself--than out of how I would.

And they all can revise. So, well, I've done what I can, I think.

I realize that, as I think about the week, and weeks, immediately ahead of me, I feel more of that anxiety: I'm going to have all these essays to grade--getting them from the SF students on Thursday and from both 102s next Wednesday (though I have to remind myself that I'm not going to get as many as I might have feared, as students are already going AWOL--or actually withdrawing); I have to remember to set up Oryx and Crake for the SF students, while collecting their essays and showing the start of Blade Runner. I have to work on a PowerPoint presentation for seminar hours, on my online Nature in Lit (as I need to show substantial progress in order to earn the remainder of my stipend--and get the course up and running for spring, assuming all the approvals are in order), on reviewing the strategic plan (all 42 turgid pages of it), on god knows what else.

Being me, of course, I'm already feeling stressed out about the fact that, in November, I will have to observe Cathy's class at 8:30 in the morning. Normally I wouldn't volunteer for that "honor," but of those of us who can observe someone going up for full professor, two teach at that time, and one would have to schlep in from New Jersey--and he's a night owl, like me. I fell on my sword about it, but truly, the idea of having to be here at 8:30--which means being up at 5:30 at the latest, if not at 5--makes me feel sick. Even though it's almost two months from now.

So I remind myself of two things. 1) It's one morning out of my semester--and I often have to get up that early, if not earlier, to get to the airport when I'm heading out west, so it's not as if it will kill me (though the whiny little girl part of me says, "Yeah, but traveling is fun..."). 2) The planet could be hit by an asteroid between now and then, which would render the observation moot (my way of reminding myself that we do not know what the future holds, so getting anxious about anything at all in the future is ridiculous).

 All that being said, if I'm not going to get any more work done tonight and have to be up extra early tomorrow, I'd better call it a night and get home so I have at least a vague chance of getting enough sleep. I'm sure I will report on how that goes, as well as on how the assignment marking goes, in the blog post of tomorrow.

Barring the arrival of that asteroid, of course.

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