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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hitting the ground trudging

I did not, in fact, hit the ground running today, my best intentions notwithstanding. As William pointed out, perhaps it would be more apposite to say simply that I hit the ground. I am not sure exactly what my thoughts were last night about what I would accomplish prior to class today, but what I actually did accomplish was marking the reading notes for the SF class and then, miraculously enough, rereading the last bits of The Word for World Is Forest, so it would be fresh in my mind when I got to class.

And it was fresh in my mind. However, my copy of the novella was still sitting on the desk in my office. Ah well.

I didn't try to use groups today; only nine students were there at the start, and only about twelve by the time class finished. However, even though they do get more animated and excited in groups, the class discussion is about the same whether I start them in groups or not: they've gotten to the point where they'll do well enough with the reading on their own (those who are doing well with it at all, of course), and they'll turn around in their desks to respond directly to each other's comments, sometimes carrying on a conversation without my having to do any directing of it. Man, I love when that happens.

P&B was moderately frustrating, largely because--once again--discussion of a problematic member of our faculty (who has been the focus of discussion for several meetings now) derailed our need to respond to promotion folders. We got through a few of them, but not all--and we've had them for weeks now. On the other hand, I should be grateful, as the two we have yet to discuss are the two I have yet to read, so I still have a chance to redeem myself. Not much of a chance, perhaps, but a chance.

After P&B, I at last turned my attention to reworking the schedule for the 102s, and reworking the other assignments and handouts that stem from the schedule. I wasn't able to buy the students much more time to read--not unless we ditch the whole revision process entirely, which would mean that one chance at the essay would count for about one third of their entire grade, and that hardly seems fair. But I do realize that--since I will be teaching the novel again in the spring--as I come up with the spring schedule, I need to work backward, not only for the essay assignments but for the reading. It would be best to read the book two to three chapters at a time--which would require a minimum of eight class meetings. Right now, I'm giving them five class meetings for it, and I feel like I'm pushing them through it way too fast.

Well, we'll see. That's all for next semester; I don't have to figure that out right now.

And I need to stop feeling so happy about the prospects for Nature in Lit running in the spring. It's been holding steady at four students for a while--and unless I can get more fliers out (one more thing to do!), that may not change much. Even if I do get more fliers out, it may not change much. But it's at least worth the try.

And again, that's a worry for another time. More immediately is my awareness that I'll be grading essays all weekend. Another little anxiety jolt occurred today when I realized that--because of a SNAFU with the online submission of adjunct availability for spring, we can't even start on the spring schedules until mid-December, and given the disparity in Cathy's and my schedules, I'll be coming in on a Friday to start the process with her. When will I work on prepping Nature in Lit for the spring? When will I work on the online version of the course? When will I look at the remaining promotion applications?

On it goes. That refrain of "When will I...?" leads to lots of anxiety without producing any actions that reduce the anxiety. It feels a little like trying to make one's way through a traffic jam when one is in a hurry: all that can be done is to look for little openings and dart into them while trying to avoid a crash. The openings do present themselves, one way or another. I wrote up the observation of Cathy's class tonight, for instance. I could have headed home earlier, but I wanted to cross at least one more thing off that triage list.

And the rest will follow in due course, as I see the little opening into which I can squeeze a task or two.

Meanwhile, it's tired and I'm late ... or something like that. I would dearly love to play hooky from Advisement tomorrow, but I know it's likely I'll have to do that in December, in order to get essays marked for the 102s (I essentially have a day in which to mark them: ye gods and little fishes). So, I'll be a good girl and go to Advisement tomorrow, and teach my two classes--good Lord willin' and the crick don't rise.

For now, it's enough to pack up my toys and toddle off homeward.

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