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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Leaving "early" is the better part of valor

OK, well maybe not valor; maybe it just makes sense. Or maybe it doesn't even make sense: I have ten essays to grade for Thursday, and not a lot of time in which to grade them tomorrow (or even Thursday morning, for the students I see late in the day)--but that whole "candle at both ends" thing is starting to make itself apparent. I managed to squeak out the last essay I needed to have done for tomorrow before starting this blog post; I truly don't think I have another one in me today; if I try, I'm afraid I'll misread a lot of the student's points--and that my own comments will be nearly incomprehensible.

So, I'm packing it in for today. I'm hoping that I can get a reasonable night's sleep tonight and that the 6 a.m. alarm, plus whatever time I can squeeze out of the day around/between student conferences is enough to knock off the rest.

I may have mentioned on Sunday, but this is when I not only feel a little bit of guilt over how relieved I am that students have not submitted essays but how relieved I am when the essay is so bad that I don't have to say much.

I am rather surprised by how little frustration I feel at the quality of their essays. Maybe it's simply because this is the first set of the semester (we'll see just how much those frustration levels rise over their second and third essays), but I'm wondering if part of it is the novelty of commenting online--coupled with the fact that I had no naïve expectations that the essays would be better than they are. I know that the essays are uniformly pretty weak--there are a few sparkles among them, but not many--but I'm strangely OK with that.

Or maybe it's just that I'm too tired to give much of a shit.

(At that point, I took a break to revise the letter of support for Cathy's promotion application and to distribute it to P&B. I just felt I needed to cross one more thing off the triage list before heading home.)

Oh, and, speaking of the tech learning curve (which we weren't, but never mind): yesterday and today I brought my laptop to campus, thinking I needed my fancy-schmancy version of Adobe to work on student essays--but I really only needed it to translate a few of them out of PDF form and into Word documents that I could comment on. Once I have that, translating them back into PDF can be done from the office computer just as easily--and that saves me a step of getting files off the laptop and onto the desktop. I feel terrible about the first essay I worked on: the student had submitted it as a PDF, so I made all the comments on it using the PDF functions--but when she looked at it and printed it out, all my comments just appeared as little "speech bubble" icons with no content. In order to see what was inside the comments, she needed to hover the cursor over each one. Poor thing is stuck trying to revise using that to see my comments. Everyone else has a nice clear PDF with my comments visible off to the side. The type is miniscule when they print it out, but they can see everything. So: note to self.

Now, however, I really do have to get out of here. If I try to do anything else--if I even look at anything else--I'll be here until 9 p.m. again, and that will mean not enough sleep, and here we go 'round the prickly pear.

I'm off. (I'm also leaving.)

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