As I was working on essays for tomorrow, I kept uncovering a late submissions that I had agreed to mark (postponing the students' conferences until Thursday)--so I thought I had nine left to do, marked one, realized I still had nine left to do, marked two, realized I still had eight left to do....
And I still have four left to do--all of them students who submitted their essays on time. Fortunately, their conferences are all late in the day--but unfortunately, students who were supposed to meet with me earlier in the week keep rescheduling themselves into tomorrow's schedule, so I have progressively less and less time in which to meet with them.
The largest frustration I'm having isn't with the quality of their essays; as I said yesterday, I'm oddly OK with that. It's with the students who are being irresponsible in one way or another.
Me: "You didn't submit your essay at all. What happened?"
Student: I procrastinated; I thought I'd missed the deadline so I gave up; I couldn't figure out what to write; I didn't know I had to do it...)
Student: "I'm submitting my essay now."
Me: whatever floats your boat, but you're not going to get any credit for this first part of the assignment, so you just lost 150 points....
(Student arrives in my office, out of breath, sits down, looks at me expectantly.)
Me: "So, you have some things to hand in today?"
(Answer should be, "yes, here's the clean printout of my essay and here's the handbook review.")
Actual answer: blank look.
Me: "OK, did you get a chance to look over my comments on your essay?
(Answer should be, "Yes, I have the printout here." Even the answer, "I didn't get to finish looking at them" is acceptable.)
Actual answer: blank look.
Me: "Did you check your e-mail?"
Answer: blank look.
Me (wishing I had a baseball bat or a 2x4...): "OK, well..."
Four students who have conferences tomorrow did not submit work--or were going to submit it today and I told them I can't accept it at this point. One of them--the most frustrating of all--is the lovely young woman from last semester who is incredibly bright and has such crippling anxiety that she's probably going to have to withdraw from the class again. I wish I could do something for her, but I truly can't; I know she's seeing a therapist (or she was last semester), but whatever progress she's making is not enough to get her through my class. Again. I want to upbraid her. I want to put my head down on the desk in despair.
But what I need to do is get the hell out of here. I have to be back in 12 hours so I can have a fighting chance of getting those last four essays marked and back to the students--and hope to hell they're frantically checking e-mail, looking for information about their essays. (I interrupted myself there to send them an e-mail, letting them know to look for their essays tomorrow--but really to see if they're checking e-mail at all, so I know whether to be prepared for another round of scenario #3, above. My hunch? For at least two of them, if not three of the four. I'm hoping it's not four of four...)
Oh, yeah: and I don't know if I've remembered to actually provide a point total for the essays as I've been sending them back. Comments, yes, but did I let them know their points? In the case of the last handful? Probably not.
One thing at a time. The thing at this time is go the fuck home.