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Thursday, February 2, 2017

I'll be back...

(Schwartzenegger voice...)

Actually, all I mean is that I'll be back here in the office tomorrow. Good thing, as I don't have it in me right now to sort out everything in my pack or the stacks on my desk: handouts for the 102s (what I need to give to the students who were absent today; what I need to hand out on Tuesday; what I can move out of my pack altogether and put in folders in the rack on my desk...), assignments from the 102s, whatever I have from Nature in Lit, blah blah blah.

I have been riddled with anxiety all day. Bad news on the veterinary front knocked me for a loop this morning (and the lack of follow-up from the vet has been bugging me all day); dealing with that got me to work later than I'd hoped--and I'm just plain anxious about all the work I have yet to do, as well as anxious in anticipation of what I'm facing grading student essays.

Among other things, it just occurred to me today that the essay assignment submission requirements say that a late hard copy needs to be submitted to me by 6 p.m. the day after the due date--but this semester, that will mean Friday, which means I need to make a trip to campus next Friday to collect late assignments (and there will be late assignments). I also have one less day to spend on marking before conferences begin: last semester I had from Wednesday to Monday; this semester, I have from Thursday to Monday. And I think I have more students--or at least as many.

I was doing the math in my head. I have 28 students. Let's round it up to 30, for the sake of the math. At 30 minutes per essay--which is about my usual--that's 15 hours of essay grading. It doesn't all have to happen over the weekend, of course: once students have signed up for conference times, I can see where I have breaks and use that time to continue marking for the students whose conferences are later in the week.

The unusual wrinkle will be handling the special time constraints of the students in the evening class. Many are parents, taking multiple evening classes and working all day. I don't know how best to get their essays to them in advance of their conferences, as they may not be able to get here to retrieve them. I may end up scanning them and sending PDFs--which will be a bit of a time commitment on my end (not to mention that I'll have to find out what the options are for scanning here in the office).

Well, challenges are what keeps things interesting, right? At the moment, the minor challenge is getting used to the new computer here in the office. It's a nice new computer, with more up-to-date operating systems--but it doesn't have all my old bookmarks on it; in fact, it only has Internet Exploder, er, I mean, Explorer, not Google Chrome, not even Firefox. I've asked our departmental tech person if I can get a better browser--and I've asked if there is any way I can retrieve my bookmarks. It's not really a huge deal; it's just that every tech upgrade requires a bit of a learning curve, so that's, well, a challenge.

Both classes today were OK. I don't feel I did a spectacular job with either one--everything is feeling rushed, and I'm aware that I should be going over things I'm not going over, but we'll limp along somehow.

I am glad that, after the frantic push to get through conferences, I have a week off. I'm decidedly going to need it. True, I'll be on stand-by jury duty that week, so there's the chance I'll get called in to a voir dire, possibly even empaneled. But I don't have to hang around the courthouse all day every day (as was the case when I lived in Brooklyn). I just have to call in after 5 p.m. each evening to see if I'll be called upon the next day. But even if I am called in to a voir dire, it's not teaching. I probably will have assignments to mark over the break--but not essays, just homework. And with any luck at all, I'll get to do a lot of sleeping, which sounds like heaven.

Now, however, I need to get the flock out of here--and be back tomorrow morning to meet with one of my mentees for promotion, go over the promotion files I haven't looked at yet, and sort out my paperwork before my violin lesson. And the fun continues...

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