I did nothing yesterday; I fell into a dark grey funk. It's partly the time of year--the slow diminuendo of light, the knowledge that even once I finish this semester, there will be another right of top of it--but it also stemmed from various downward tugs from my personal life. I'm glad I gave myself the day to briefly become incompetent--and although it made me somewhat sad to do it, I canceled both lessons for today so I could have the day uninterrupted for work.
And I did work. I sorted everything out, organized all the stacks I have to mark, carefully divided the total by three--and almost got all of today's allotted work done (one student's worth of work short of the quota).
Having only gotten about a third of the way through everything, it's too early to say for sure, but so far, everyone has actually revised. Maybe not very much or very well--but there hasn't been a single essay so far that has just focused on mechanics without revising, or that has done neither. That is a good sign in terms of the effectiveness of the pedagogy.
I am more than a little concerned about what I can expect for the next essays, however, given the quality (or lack of quality) of their responses to the poems. Even the work that we do in class doesn't seem to penetrate very well, so I'm afraid I may be facing a hell of a lot of bilge when I see those essays come in.
Ah well. But this second essay is when I will know whether the conferencing helps reduce attrition, as this is usually when there's a bit of a fall off. It's not as extreme as the fall-off when we start reading Left Hand of Darkness, but still: if most of the students who are there now are still there when we head into final versions of essay 2, that will be a significant difference.
It will also be a significant pain in my ass, in terms of getting the work done, but, well, there you have it.
So, that's the news for this week. I still may post briefly tomorrow or Sunday--especially if I make my daily quotas early enough that I can do a little prep for Nature in Lit over this weekend (the FTF version I'm slated to teach in the spring, if it runs, not to mention the online version).
I wrote that and immediately thought, "It's not too late; I could do some of that today..." but no. No. I need to let go of today and try to have a peaceful evening, so I'm refreshed and ready for that other day that will come around when the sun comes up again.