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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Howling error on my part

I was reading the essay from one of my 102 students--a very smart, capable woman, more grown up than most--and I was unhappy to see that she'd only made superficial corrections to her essay, what I call "mechanics" corrections, and hadn't revised at all. But I also noticed that the first version of her essay, with my comments, wasn't submitted with the rest of her materials, and that's one of the submission requirements. I wrote comments on one of my rubrics, then changed them--then tore the rubric up entirely (twice), because I realized ... I never sent her the first version of her essay.

Now, you may recall that marking the essays electronically was something that had to happen because there was a snow day when the essays were due. I missed sending the essay to one student, but because I conferenced with him, the error was discovered before he got too far down the road. In the case of this woman, there was a flurry of e-mails back and forth about the submission of her essay to Turnitin (and a little bit of teaching her how to send an e-mail with the message in the e-mail itself rather than in the subject line); then there was another flurry of e-mails because she was ill the day of her conference, so we were trying to figure out when she could meet with me. As it happened, she didn't meet with me at all--and I didn't realize until today that I never sent the marked first version.

I did send her that version today, not because it will help her on this essay but because I hope that perhaps my comments will help her understand what she should do differently for the second essay. And I'm being very generous with her grade because I fucked up so badly. I grant you, she also fucked up by "forgetting" to submit the final essay to Turnitin on time, but ... well, I'm just going to let this one go.

That reminded me: I needed to make a decision about the penalty for late uploads to Turnitin for the Nature in Lit students. I'm going to be somewhat merciful this time and take half what I'd usually take.

On the other hand, several students in the 102s have blown their chance at credit for the final submission, as more than six days have passed without their uploading their essays, and my policy states that after an essay has accrued 60 points (ten points per day), it no longer receives credit. Because I am sick of students not giving enough of a shit to turn things in on time.

Full disclosure: I was terrible about turning things in late when I was an undergrad. I now empathize with my professors' frustration--and I don't know why more of them didn't take huge penalties when things were late. It's fucking annoying, is what it is.

That said, I have accomplished virtually nothing today--or at least virtually nothing in terms of marking assignments. I am only able to be sanguine about this because it looks all but certain that we'll have a snow day on Tuesday: an active blizzard watch has been issued, to the tune of 12-18 inches of snow (which almost makes me wonder if classes will be canceled on Wednesday, too--or at least Wednesday morning). I am not proud of the fact that I'm like a kid, praying for school to be closed, but that's where I am. Of course, I also realize that I'd probably have done best to have worked much harder today, and to crank through as many essays as possible tomorrow at home and around class and Advisement on Monday, in addition to the gift of an extra day in which to mark things on Tuesday, but ... well, I didn't. I've made that particular bed, so I'll end up lying in it, I suppose.

I don't know if I'll post tomorrow; it rather depends on how the essay marking goes and whether I am more than usually frustrated or delighted. (Hey, miracles do occur.) But I'm done with work for today. Time to focus on things I do purely to gratify myself.

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