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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Grumpiness and gratitude--and uncertainty

So, I just found out that there was some kind of glitch in my campus email so that a lot (and I mean a lot) of emails were going into my junk folder. What I don't understand is that I'd get parts of a thread in my inbox, and other messages went to the junk folder. Very weird. The problem apparently started at the end of March, and between March and now, 308 (possibly more) emails were erroneously marked as junk. A lot of the political shit-storm that Paul has been talking about I missed not because I metaphorically have my fingers in my ears and am singing lalala but because the emails that were kicked up by the storm were not visible to me. Obviously I didn't read all of them (OK, any of them), but it was a snorting pain in the ass to notify the junk filters "nope, not junk mail, nope nope nope." It didn't take as long to check them off, mark them as read, and delete them--but still, I've spent about 45 minutes on that idiocy.

I was also very grumpy because there was an awards event this evening, celebrating students who won scholarships, and since Cathy couldn't go, and no one else on P&B volunteered, I went. I stood on stage with the president, AVP, and someone other administrator--but not one of the students who got a scholarship from the English department--and had my photo taken (a little like being placed in front of a knife thrower in my book), and then sat there and watched other groups gather, get arranged, have photos taken ... for an hour and a half. In the immortal words of Pogo, murmph murmph murmph.

On my way back to the office, I suddenly realized my car key was not in my coat pocket. I don't usually keep it there, but I moved my car on my way to class this morning, so it ended up in the pocket--and then ended up out of the pocket. I was wondering whether I was going to have to schlep back to the gym, where the event had been held, hope it was still open, search the floor for my key (and the little security beeper thingy), but decided to check the office first--and the building was locked. And I don't carry my phone with me, so I couldn't simply call security to let me in. I was making a circuit of all the doors, and a colleague just happened to be going out: thank the gods, I could get into the building. I went up to the office, frantically looked on the floor around my desk, where my coat had at one point fallen off the back of my chair, was about to trek back to the gym--and then saw that my key on my desk. Apparently Roberto, the wonderful member of the maintenance staff who cleans here at night, saw it on the floor and put it on the desk for me.

Gratitude, gratitude.

Today's class was a non-event: students showed up to submit their essays, got the self-evaluation assignment, and left. Four students did none of those things, and haven't uploaded their essays to Turnitin--or at least not yet. Do I accept the essays the last day and give a whopping penalty? Or do I keep the letter of the law and say sorry: that's 200 points you just lost?

I don't know.

I also don't know what to do about the four students from the 5:30 102 class who didn't upload their essays yesterday. One of them is the student who otherwise has been very good--but she has missed every single upload all semester long. God dammit. Does the axe fall? They've been notified by email--twice. One email I sent to the whole class--and more on that in a minute--and one I sent specifically to the four delinquent students and ... nothing. Not sure what to do about that. Especially because earlier today, I got a call in the office from a student who was completely hysterical on the phone: she has been a very good, very diligent student, hasn't missed a single deadline--but she did miss the upload last night. She called because she'd seen the class email; apparently after class last night, she got into a monumental fight with her mother and spaced. I had no problem with having her email the assignment to me for me to upload (since the assignment settings in Turnitin do not allow late submissions). But the other four?

I don't know.

I may try to talk with Paul about it, though tomorrow is a pretty fraught day: he's officially done with ASEC, but tomorrow is a big vote on a bylaws change (the subject of about 290 of those 308 emails), so no one's mood is going to be great. But I honestly do not know what to do about those students who just completely ignored the "I will not accept this late" and "'I forgot' isn't an acceptable excuse for forgetting the upload" warnings....

So the fate of the campus is still uncertain; the fate of some of my students is in my hands in a way I do not appreciate. But, to focus on what is good (and circle back to the gratitude thing), I spent a long while with one student in Advisement: he's just working to fulfill prereqs for a program he wants to transfer into, so I helped him figure out what he could take in what order to get there. What we discovered is that he'd need prereqs before the prereqs (two levels of chem before he can take the chem the transfer program wants him to have). We both kept getting confused about the various if/then scenarios, but I helped him see how things would have to stack up:  this, then this, then this--which a couple of questions about whether X would fill the requirement or Y would do. It was interesting, and he was intelligent and very focused: it felt collaborative, and that was great. I also  had a nice encounter with a student who is withdrawing from Nature in Lit (or I hope she is: she doesn't want to come back to campus and she may need to, in order to finish processing the form). She asked me if I would be her mentor until she graduates, because she needs someone to kick her butt from time to time. She wants to meet with me every few weeks all the way through until she graduates. Absolutely: I'm game. I don't really expect her to follow through on it--in fact, I'll be astonished if she does--but it's lovely that she asked.

I responded to the last two year-end evaluations; one I simply signed off on, the other needed some adjustments by the faculty member (and the communication about how best to proceed just in terms of what to do electronically and what to do in print was bumpy; I'm not sure we understood each other). I'm waiting for adjustments from two other colleagues, and two of the evaluations are done, signed, sealed, and just have to be delivered.

I am resolutely not looking toward my desk and am ignoring what's on the radiator: it's a wild and chaotic mess at the moment. But I'll sort things out a little tomorrow before the big vote; then I'll meet with the 1:00 102 students (which should be fun), do my make-up time in Advisement, and ... start churning through the essays for the final grading. Several students want comments, so I'm focusing on those first, but it feels pretty painless right now. I am going to have to come in on Friday, or take work home over the weekend (or both), but that's just to reduce the flurry on Monday. If all goes as planned, Monday night at about this time, I'll be checking in to say I have just submitted final grades and am preparing my sea cucumber impersonations for the summer.

Hi-ho Silver and away!

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