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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Derailed by life

Our students frequently encounter things outside of school that profoundly affect their ability to attend to their academics. I am finding myself on that same side of the teeter-totter that is work/life balance. I finally had to have my sick cat put down yesterday, and dealing with all the research, decisions, scheduling--and grieving--took a huge chunk out of my time for marking essays. I tried to use work as a distraction today, and for the most part managed to do that (work being one of my narcotics of choice), but I am nowhere near where I need to be in terms of having essays ready to give back to the students in the 102s on Tuesday. I'd stay home tomorrow but I have some appointments scheduled with students from Nature in Lit to talk with them about revisions, and I really don't want to miss a class meeting with them, now that we're working through the novella.

I will, however, let the folks in Advisement know that I need to bail. This time, however, I won't take it as sick leave. It's too frantically busy over there for me to feel good about skipping a day, so I'll make it up somewhere (and sure as God made little green apples, I'll be bitching about how I can't get X done because I have to make up those hours in Advisement, but c'est la vie).

I realize, too, that I need to let a few students in the 102s know that they're not going to pass--or that they might pass, but their grades will be much lower than they probably want to accept. There may be another sudden drop in numbers at this stage in the semester, but this time it won't be because they're blowing up over a reading they can't get through; it will be because they've been falling further and further behind as time has gone on. A few are potentially very good students, too. Ah well.

Still, reading their revisions, I'm happy to see that some of them, maybe even most of them, did at least make a concerted effort to revise. There were a few that were completely unrevised and only partially, glancingly, corrected, and they just got the end comment, "I'm sorry you didn't take advantage of the opportunity to revise" and then the hammer would fall: penalties, low marks...

I only have two more to mark for the 1:00 class, and again, I'm having one of those arguments with myself: couldn't you suck it up to just do two more? No. Oh, OK.

I'm particularly concerned about when I can get them all marked not only because I have those student appointments tomorrow but also because on Tuesday I have an observation at 10, and P&B between classes, so whatever doesn't get done tomorrow may not get done. But we'll see. Sometimes I can tap a hidden energy reserve and crank through more than I expect. I'm not counting on it, however; the students may just have to wait until Thursday to get their essays back. Again, c'est la vie.

Now, however, I'm going to engage in self-soothing behaviors. I speak very calmly about having my cat put to sleep, but of course I'm anything but calm and sanguine about it. Grief is exhausting, and the grieving will no doubt sap my energy for the rest of the semester. Still, there's nothing to do but get on with it--both the rest of the semester and the grieving.

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