Today was disappointing in terms of my own time management and preparedness: for some reason, going over the plagiarism information took much longer than usual, so we had no time to do the little exercises (which I actually find fun) and barely had time to talk about the reading for today. I was proud of myself for remembering to go over the handbook review homework, however: if they're going to do the homework, we should talk about it.
But the bigger disappointment was that I didn't have anything to return to the 5:30 class: no reading notes, no handbook reviews, nothing. And especially in terms of the notes, that's not good. They really need to see feedback on their own individual notes in order to start to get the idea that what I say to the class actually applies to them as individuals. And as I want their work to improve, it's especially important that I get feedback to them, so they can start applying it, so there is a chance for that improvement to happen.
Of course, the irony is that the first handbook review that they did included the comment that you haven't truly learned anything until you can apply it, and then went on to talk at some length about what notes need to contain, how they work, what they're for ... and students still didn't get it. They noted that comment in their handbook reviews, but they sure didn't apply what they'd learned, which indicates they haven't truly learned it.
That's one reason I'm going to have them re-read those same chapters after we finish the first essay. (The other reason is that, across the board, students in the 102s last semester said they didn't retain any of the information from that particular guide to apply to their later writing.) But the re-review will only be valuable if they have my comments on their own work to compare to what they're being instructed to do.
I hate it when I get this behind on assignment marking, but simply didn't have time. P&B ran way long--and we didn't get as much done as we needed to. (Poor Bob was clearly losing his mind at how long we were taking with everything--and he's right that we need to hustle things along--but we're also being quite meticulous, which I suppose is a good thing. We have given him carte blanche to be the "let's move it along" person, however: we need someone riding herd on us.) And somehow, both yesterday and today, it took me much longer than usual to just get out of the house, so I didn't have as much time before classes as I'd hoped.
Speaking of P&B, I'm so far behind on that work that I'm going to come in on Friday to review promotion applications--because otherwise, I don't know when I'd find the time, and we need to get feedback to the applicants as rapidly as possible so they have a chance to address the concerns.
I also am meeting next week with the VP for distance education to go over my Distance Education Equivalency (DEE) application for Nature in Lit, to see if it's ready to send along to the college-wide curriculum committee for approval (I hope I hope). I got some very helpful feedback from my DEE mentor--and now I have to apply it to my work.
(How many variations on the words "apply," "application," and "applicant" can we get in one post, and in how many different contexts?)
I am becoming increasingly alarmed by how tired, cranky and behind I am--which I know is a vicious cycle. I am in desperate need of a good, clear re-framing, and I'm struggling to find one. I know I can do it; it's just proving surprisingly difficult to do.
One positive note: I got an e-mail today from one of the students in last semester's SF class, pointing out an article in National Geographic about a genetic splice between pig and human tissues. His subject line was "Oryx and Crake," and the sum total of his message was something along the lines of "All we're missing is Painball"--which is brilliantly funny and apt. I'm delighted that he is still thinking about the novel, finding those "real world" (or maybe surreal world) connections.
Another positive note: I thought I had lost one of the students in the 5:30 102 who is showing the most potential. She was there--and surprised that I'd gotten notification that she was disenrolled. It looks like there was a SNAFU with her tuition payment, so I've just written to the Registrar, hoping to help get things sorted out. I'm very glad not to have lost her; I do think she's going to be one of a handful of bright lights in that class.
I realize, too, that I have to switch off any further "I have to" thoughts and simply take care of a teeny bit of life maintenance on my way home--leaving tomorrow to be another day. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. The sun'll come out tomorrow. Kiss today goodbye. There will be time, there will be time.... and I'll think about that tomorrow, when I'm stronger.