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Monday, April 17, 2017

An observation, and an observation

The Nature in Lit was like usual: students seemed to be working fairly well in their groups, but when it came to full class discussion, I'm sure there are livelier tombs. I even tried to help them out by posting some specific questions I wanted them to answer--but apparently the answers to the questions were pretty well beyond them. That, and the fact that they cannot, will not, read with attention to the actual words on the page but bounce off into their own maunderings and leave the text behind, bereft...

I had to speak to four of them after class about missing essays. One submitted hers by Turnitin, just didn't give me the hard copy; the other three submitted nothing. I've agreed to accept something--if they can get it to me, both in hard copy and uploaded to Turnitin, by tomorrow. I will give them feedback but no points until they submit something on the revision date. And I will take a whopping huge late penalty even so. (Most students can "erase" the late penalty by submitting a revision, so they'll be hurt plenty.) Two of those three may come through; the third--a very sweet young man but completely unfocused--admitted to me today that he's struggling with depression and with all his classes. I encouraged him to withdraw, but he doesn't want to. He should: it's truly in his best interest. I don't know why they resist withdrawing even when the math is clearly not in their favor, but they do. I guess they see it as an admission of defeat; I see it as a retreat and retrenchment, not a defeat. The F is a defeat.

But that's me, and I've got a lot of hard knocks to draw on as a reminder of when retreat is in order.

I also decided--somewhat reluctantly--to ditch the poetry they were supposed to read for next class and instead give them a little more time with Paradises Lost. They hoped I would turn the poems into extra credit, but I said I thought I'd given enough of that; instead, I said the portion of the novella they read for Wednesday will substitute mathematically for the poems--but I just realized that won't work, as I'd asked for separate notes for each poem. Fuck. But it's actually OK: they can just subtract 75 points from the total; with the other opportunities for extra credit I've provided, plus what was already built in, there's the potential to earn more than a "perfect" 2000 points, so... I may reconsider, but I really want them to focus on the novella and not to spend time on poems that they won't get and that we won't discuss so I can help them get them.

Fuck. Seriously: this course was just snake-bit this semester. No salvaging it. Ah well.

None of which is the observation "promised" by the title of this post. The observation is that there will no longer be time to mark student work in Advisement. It's not quite a mob scene, but it's pretty damned busy, a steady stream of students, many of whom had been waiting quite a while. Of course this makes me regret that I didn't get more of the 102 stuff marked over the break, but I was (and am) dealing with emotional undertow that makes that kind of effort difficult to say the least, so I am forgiving myself. It just means I'm going to be what the Hawaiians would call "hella busy" for the foreseeable future. Not that that's a surprise, or any different from the usual state of affairs.

In addition to that observation, I conducted an actual observation tonight, of one of our adjuncts, and it was a blast. The students were definitely swinging from the chandeliers, but she had a great rapport with them, and the lesson for the day was pertinent, useful, and engaging. Nice to be in a position to see one of our adjuncts just to show that we run a tight ship, not because of any problems. (Nice to see that there still are classrooms in which the chemistry creates that swinging from the chandeliers energy. I'd sure love some of that.)

But now, it's very late, and I have an ailing cat at home, so I'm going to bring this to a rather abrupt halt and get out of here. I'll be back in about 12 hours to make up some time in Advisement and then have my usual Tuesday. Bizzybizzybizzy me.

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