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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Well, that wasn't how I thought the week would work...

I thought I'd be posting more often during the week, as I thought I'd be putting in more days of solid work--but that was not, in fact, what transpired. I guess, in hindsight, I'd say I prioritized life maintenance over marking student work--and consequently, I didn't get through as much as I thought I would. (I need to get that put on a T-shirt or something, as I say it so often.)

Today I was sure I needed to get the mechanics review copies marked for both sections of 102--until I realized I wasn't going to get that done without pushing through a series of walls. And, as is frequently the case, it turns out I probably didn't need to get them all marked, as I think the plan I have now will work out just fine. I got everything done for Nature in Lit--including reading the (lengthy) extract from Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac, which I haven't read since I was in grad school (and which was wonderful to revisit). And I got everything--including accumulated homework--marked for the earlier section of 102. So I have 19 essays to mark for mechanics for the later section of 102, and the homework for that class--but I'm not commenting on the homework. I'm just slapping on the scores and leaving it at that.

I still would be grateful for a surprise Tuesday blizzard, however. I don't want to miss meeting with the students in Nature in Lit; I'm very curious to know how they respond to Leopold, what they pick up on as noteworthy. But I wouldn't mind a slightly longer break from the 102s.

Speaking of the students in Nature in Lit: I sent out the Academic Progress reports, and to my delight, one student responded to the report, which said he is missing a lot of work and needs to do a better job on the work he's submitting. He's the young man who surprised me at the start of the semester: he sits in the back, baseball cap pulled down almost over his eyes--generally signs of a student who is in some way shut down--but he's extremely smart, reads a lot, knew enough about the Transcendentalists to share some knowledge with the class, is articulate.... He seems to want to do well, and as he is loaded with potential, I hope he follows through.

This experience reminds me how frequently in the past I've faced the frustration of the incredibly bright student who, for whatever reasons, just doesn't follow through on the work. It isn't enough to just work hard; one must have the native smarts to get top marks. But it also isn't enough to have the native smarts. The best students combine both: they've got the intellectual capacity and they work hard. I have a few of those this semester, and if I can turn Baseball Cap into one of them, I'll be very happy.

Now, however, it is time for more of that life maintenance stuff. (It's endless--thank God.) I'll be back to the usual rhythm of posts as of tomorrow. A demain.

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