...and considering how depressing and infuriating the news is these days, that's saying something. I told myself I'd get through half the essays for Nature in Lit today, so as to return them on Monday and stay at least sort of on schedule in terms of revision of the first essay and submission of the second one. I couldn't do it. I got about a third of the way through--really pushing hard to get the last two in that batch done--and I simply could not face another.
I should point out that I am adhering more strictly to my late essay policy than usual. I'm not taking the full penalty for late uploads to Turnitin, but my policy states that essays that are not fully submitted within 24 hours will not be commented on: just read and graded--and actually, I'm being a little more strict than usual, as if something was even one day late (technically perhaps within those 24 hours), I'm only marking the rubric sheet, nothing else.
A lot of the essays are significantly under length--annoying, but helpful in terms of the amount of time needed to mark them. Only one (so far) has anything even approaching a thesis--and from a quick glance, it looks as if maybe three do, if that. Out of 24. And not one actually relies on close reading of the words of the texts it purports to cover: the problem I've been seeing in their notes is fully manifest in their essays.
Two of them are all but incomprehensible--one belonging to the woman who wants to desperately to graduate. Paul suggested I base my decision about whether to try to pass her with a mercy D on her essay, and I honestly have no idea how she passed any level of composition prior to my class, or how she's been able to read well enough to pass any class at all. I can't stop her from graduating entirely, but I won't be the one to pass her in a class that she clearly is utterly incapable of handling. I feel bad for the woman, I truly do, but if I had my druthers, she'd have to go back and go through it all again, and again, and again until she can read and write well enough to deserve any kind of college degree, even a "mere" associate's degree. Bless her heart, but I hate to know she's going to go out there in the world with a diploma from us with her level of reading and writing abilities. It makes our whole institution look bad.
So, after realizing that even the "good" students were turning in essays that are pretty much pure crap, I had to stop. However, I didn't feel I could stop working entirely; I have too much I need to get cleared away before essays come in from the 102s on Thursday. So I turned my attention to marking the reading notes and homework from the 102s--and it was a relief. That right there should say enough about how bad the Nature in Lit essays are. Many of the students in the 102s are actually doing OK--and a few are doing truly excellent work. I'm surprised that I feel better about the ability of the 102 students, but thank god I have them to feel good about.
This weekend I'm feeling a real pinch between the work I need to get done for classes and the life maintenance I need to do. I intended to work later than I did, but I wanted to write some of this out, so I'm not carrying quite so much of it around with me--and a few of the places I need to go will close soon, so I need to get moving. It's also starting to snow--the weather forecasts are stumped over and over by how fast things change--and although I don't think it's going to stick much, I'd still rather be home before it does, if it does.
I'm also lodging a request of the cosmos: please let me feel better about all this tomorrow--and allow me to get a lot more work done, despite the life maintenance that will be called for (what I can't do today). You know: tomorrow is another day, so there's hope it will be different from today...