I'm probably being overly sanguine about the number of essays I have still to mark and the amount of time I'll have in which to mark them tomorrow, but I have a choice: either I stay and try to keep working, despite the fact that I can barely keep my eyes open, or I take it on faith that I can finish up tomorrow. I have approximately 14 more to do: that's about 3-1/2 hours of work, though a few of them may be of a nature that requires little marking, either because they're good in terms of mechanics or because they need so much work in terms of revision that I can focus on overall comments for revision (for students who didn't submit the first version in time) and let them know that mechanics will have to wait.
I'm being optimistic about the amount of time available because these are all for the 5:30 class. I have a meeting at 10 tomorrow morning, but nothing between that and class at 1. I do have P&B, but I think we start late--and I do have to make sure I've looked at Cathy's promotion folder, as well as checking to be sure I've signed everything that needs to be signed. But I knew yesterday that I'd be getting up at 6 tomorrow, so I'm emotionally prepared for that (and it does require some emotional preparation, which doesn't entirely prevent the internal whining but at least mitigates it some).
Today's class was a bit of a bust, which was disappointing. I had assigned a relatively large chunk of Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac, including the section on the Land Ethic, and I think most if not all of the students stopped short of reading the whole thing. Their notes certainly looked pretty skimpy, and there were a lot of long silences instead of animated discussion--not to mention the fact that when they did bring up any points, they mostly were about the first pages of the reading, nothing toward the end. For next class, I assigned two Kingsolver essays, which was probably a horrific mistake, as I'm betting 99% of them read one (if that), but I couldn't make up my mind which to assign so I went for both.
If/when I teach the online version of the class, the assignments will be more limited in a lot of ways, as I need to use a book (or books) that the students can easily purchase. Right now, I'm working from the Norton anthology; it's pretty good (and not terribly expensive as these things go), but it contains a lot that I don't care about and misses a lot that I do care about--and none of the selections are very long (which the students probably won't mind in the least).
In any event, the advantage to what I've assigned this semester is that it forces me to reread these pieces--and I love them, so rereading them is a treat. (Why then do I need to be forced? Because I can always find 10,000 other things to do with my time and am unlikely to choose meaty nature writing when I'm looking for the literary equivalent of marshmallow fluff.)
Ach. That's enough for tonight. I could continue to natter, but the sooner I'm home and settled, the easier it will be to get up in the morning--and the easier it will be to get through the day. (Which is, you know, another day, not this one.)