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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Made it--but another pant-load to do

"Pant-load" is an expression I picked up from my sister's first husband. It's revoltingly appropriate. I have all the essays for Nature in Lit to mark, plus all the poetry notes for the 102s--which they must get back on Tuesday so they can write their essays--plus a wodge of notes from Nature in Lit that I collected yesterday. I also need to reread the Gary Snyder essay for Monday.

All of that makes it difficult to celebrate the fact that I got all the essays marked before the 5:30 class--and I did not, in fact, get up at 5; I got up at 6. However, I was successful only because I graded four of the essays while I was sitting in that meeting. Thank you, William: he pointed out that I wouldn't actually have to participate in the meeting, as I was only there to answer any questions about the distance-ed forms for the class ("there being none," I could try to tune out what was going on, though a few times, the thread of discussion caught my ear), and to collect signatures, which I did. (No one seems to know what I do with the forms now. I think they need to go to the Senate somehow, but I don't know the procedures--and the procedure manual for the college-wide committee has vanished from the senate web site, apparently. I located it once before, but now? Gone.)

Nevertheless, I got the essays marked. Some were notably better. Some were not. Most at least showed a real attempt to revise, which is a huge step in the right direction, even if the attempt didn't lead to a good essay. But that's a job well done, and I should take a moment to bask in the glory...

Ok, moment's over.

Shifting gears: two realizations from this week.

1. I may have mentioned this in a previous post, but I'm remembering to actually say it to my students: academic success requires attention to details. Students are dealing with multiple classes, multiple sets of rules and regulations, very specific processes and procedures, and they need to keep track of it all--and it isn't easy. So paying attention to details isn't just about reading the literature; it's also about looking at the syllabus or at assignment sheets.

2. Students don't like group work--or at least most students most of the time. The students in Nature in Lit have wholeheartedly rejected group work as a viable process to increase their understanding of the material. I know that this is partly because group work requires that they do more of the heavy lifting--and I'll probably end up putting them back in groups after a few more classes (because I don't want to do all the heavy lifting)--but right now, they need the support. The students in the 102s also decided today that they'd rather not work in groups, very likely for the same reason, but it is marginally more efficient when I have a lot of stuff to cover to do it with the class as a whole so I can direct the process a great deal more than is my wont.

Now, I say students don't like group work, but invariably, at the end of the semester, the ones who stay end up saying that they liked the group work because they liked sharing ideas with classmates, hearing different perspectives. So I will insist on it more often than not--but I will say that none of the classes is really pulling together into a strong, cohesive unit, as happens with the classes that have really good chemistry. Weak molecular bonds this semester. Ah well.

So, I'm schlepping home a very heavy bag of stuff to contend with over the weekend, and I'm extremely tired, and yet my spirits are not as low as they've been of late. I think I'm too physically exhausted to notice how discouraged I am: it all sort of washes together in a big blur of sleepiness. The eight o'clock bells are just now tolling, and the bell definitely tolls for me. I am, my dear readers, outta here.

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