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Monday, January 30, 2017

"Breathing skills"

A student in Nature in Lit wrote, in her preliminary thinking about what "nature" means, that being in nature helps us work on our "breathing skills." I don't think she was talking about meditative breathing, but that sure is a skill I should work on. (Apart from that, I'm pretty damned good at breathing, I think.)

Class was a bit of a bust today--because I spent most of the period frantically trying to mark homework to return. I got it done, but the students really didn't have enough to talk about and were kind of twiddling their thumbs for a while. I did pose two questions for them to consider, but they didn't spend a lot of time searching the text for answers. I realized when I was working on the syllabus for the online version that I really didn't assign much for this week--in fact, not really enough. They're going to get used to only having to read 4-5 pages and be shocked as shit when suddenly they are expected to read 20 or more.

Mea maxima culpa.

Advisement was very nearly empty, so I'm not sure why I accomplished so very little. I barely got a start on marking homework for the 102s. I came back to the office fully intending to burn through at least one promotion folder, then mark assignments--and instead, I've spent the last four hours trying to sort out what photocopies I have, which I still need, how many, by when, what I can send to the copy center...

...and you may recall that I spend ages on that last week as well. I do not know why this relatively simple organizational thing should consume so much time and cause so much tearing of hair. I now think I have things figured out well enough to get me through to March, but I can't get too sanguine about being on top of things, because my need for the next set of handouts will come whipping around the corner while I'm still patting myself on the back, and I'll get flattened.

So, tomorrow I have to talk to the 102 students about their reading notes without having any to return to them--and they'll have to do yet another set without feedback from me, which is wrong, dammit, but what can I do? There are still six or seven promotion folders I need to look at (including Cathy's--and I'm her mentor, ostensibly), and we're supposed to talk about them in tomorrow's P&B. And I have to write letters for Cathy and David. It won't take long to do once I sit down to do it, but when?

It bothers me that I can't seem to get on top even for a nanosecond. I feel like Indiana Jones being chased out of the temple at the start of Raiders of the Lost Ark. (I guess I need a signature hat.)

And I would put in more work tonight, but it's a matter of diminishing returns--and my bizarre and apparently unreasonable desire to have a life that is not consumed by work. All the veterinary crises of last week have momentarily abated, but they sure didn't help my progress toward stability in my work life.

So, off to practice those breathing skills....

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