I didn't post over the weekend, so I expect I've lost a few readers, who look for their daily dose, but c'est la vie. The conference in Scranton was fascinating, discouraging, inspiring, exhausting. Some of the stories by panelists were horrifying examples of how bad things can get; some were inspiring--but just thinking of the work that any action requires is exhausting, not to mention the actual physical exhaustion of the 4:30 a.m. alarm and the drive there and back (especially back, when I was caught in a horrific traffic jam: took me an hour and a half to drive six miles). I would love for some of the things that were discussed specifically about shared governance to be shared on my campus, but I don't have the fire in the belly to create an event that would do what I'd like to see. It's not even that the flesh is weak; the spirit is a bit weak, also. It's hard to feel that anything will change, and I've had my fill of bashing my head against titanium walls.
Yesterday was a life-maintenance sort of day, didn't even attempt any work, beyond doing some reading of articles for the 102 final essay while I did my laundry. Today, I did organize everything I have in hand for the Nature in Lit class, and I managed to mark a couple of homework assignments, but as soon as I was facing the first actual essay, I was overwhelmed with a need for a nap.
I actually did need the nap, physically as well as psychologically: I've been running too long on too little sleep, and my body is starting to get pretty insistent about taking care of that little problem. But I am also very aware that--as I suspected would be the case--I'm in an internal conflict between my awareness of how much work I have to do and my desire to be really, truly on break. The whole "tomorrow is another day" only works for so long: then one gets to the point at which the work truly must be done--and I know it will alleviate panic as I get closer to that point if I can make myself do some work now.
Nevertheless, my intention for tomorrow is not to grade any student work but to pull together the final essay assignment for the 102s. I will go to campus on Wednesday to talk to the genius librarian who put together the Lib Guide for the book and to do my year-end evaluation--and if I can pass the final essay assignment along to the librarian and photocopy it while I'm on campus, that will be good. If I can get that done and still have time to do some grading, great. If not, I'll take some grading to the office with me on Wednesday.
And worst case scenario, I'll still be grading what I have in hand as I start collecting yet more sets of reading notes. Essays are the most important things to return; the homeworks can wait if need be.
And that's all I've got for now. I really am running on fumes, and the end of semester cannot possibly come soon enough. I know time is going to fly, not only for the break but through May 15, and that's a blessing.