I have to be out of here in 15 minutes in order to meet William, Paul and Kristin at our favorite steak place. I've been looking forward to this ever since I set it up, but especially yesterday and today. It will be delightful to spend time with them not in the office.
The final meeting with the SF class was lovely; I'm going to miss working with them. They were a great bunch by the end, and they all were happy about what they learned. Some of them were more talkative in this last session than they'd been all semester--and generally, their feedback was that all the assignments worked. There was some disagreement about which book was the least useful--of course--but when I asked them what I should ditch entirely, not to replace with something else but just to remove, there was no consensus, and ultimately the response was, "Nah. Keep it all."
What was particularly gratifying was that they all agreed about two basic things: the reading notes were valuable, though it took a while to understand what to do with them; and they read differently now, with more detailed attention. One student said there was kind of a down-side to that: he reread some books he used to really like--and doesn't like them any more, as he finds them shallow and badly written. Using my gourmet meal versus fast-food analogy, he agreed: he doesn't like McDonald's any more. (He was joking about it being a down-side, of course; they're all happy that they have a deeper appreciation for literature.) A lot of the feedback was really interesting; one student said he found it easier to take notes and write his essay on the books he didn't like as well--because he didn't get caught up in just enjoying the story. Fair enough.
And across the board, they all felt Paradises Lost was the richest, most rewarding and interesting of all the texts we read. Thank you, Ursula.
I have marked the essays for the SF students who wanted to actually see comments, and--as I planned--I've gotten my hard-copy rosters ready to fill out with the numbers. Interesting to note that students in the SF class were smarter about processing their withdrawals rather than simply disappearing: I guess many students have to feel the ouch of the unofficial withdrawal a few times before they get the message. Some of the students in the 102s are generally good enough that even though they bailed on my class (or for other reasons were unable to complete the semester), I don't want them to take the hit to their GPAs, so I've e-mailed them one last time to remind them to actually process the withdrawal.
I haven't made up my mind yet what I'm going to do about the students who--once again--"forgot" to upload their essays ... but I'll probably let it go, unless they don't take care of it tomorrow. I'm in a generous mood. It's almost Christmas--and I'm too tired to fight much any more.
And that's my 15 minutes. Two workmen are in the office plugging up the huge cracks around the window AC units (which were blasting arctic air on me the other day when it was cold and windy)--and all is Hunk and Dora.