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Friday, July 28, 2017

7,000 revisions...

If my students would revise their essays even a quarter as much as I revise all the fucking handouts, their essays would be infinitely better. I have gone through the syllabus I don't know how many times, and I still am finding things I need to add/change/clarify. That includes having reworked the timing for the second essay and the readings several times over. I still may be rushing them through The Left Hand of Darkness--or creating a collision between their reading the beginning of the novel and writing their second essays (both of which are going to happen over the Thanksgiving break)--but I think there's at least a marginally better chance that they'll be able to handle the reading of the two Atwood novels and still have time to get through Left Hand.

Maybe. The one problem I've created for myself is that I won't have much time in which to grade their second essays and get them back to them in time for revisions--but I can also bump the revision deadline later if I have to--and I may do that before I even consider the assignment schedule "final." Of course, the schedule is never "final" until after the semester is finished: there is always the possibility that I may shift things around--or that an act of God may throw everything into a cocked hat--but at least I have a solid framework in place from which I can deviate as needed. Without that framework in place before the term starts, I'd be lost by the second week of classes: I'd completely lose track of what we've done, what I want to do, and how much time there is. (And that's even apart from the whole "I don't know how long anything takes" problem.)

I also reworked several handouts that I thought I'd already sufficiently reworked--but as I made changes to the syllabus, I kept thinking, "Oh, I should make sure that piece of information is also on this handout" or "Oh, I think I can cover that information this way, not that way" or ... well, whatever occurs to me in the moment as a great idea. (Often, on further reflection, I realize the "great ideas" were actually duds, but such is life in general, I reckon.)

One question in my mind at the moment is whether it makes sense to take any work on the train to the City with me tomorrow: will I actually be able to concentrate and get anything done? Or am I better off really taking the day off, allowing things to simmer in the background for a while, and then dive in again on Sunday? My hunch is the latter, but we'll see how I feel on the morrow.

Speaking of amending plans on the day: I didn't quite get up with the alarm, but I didn't sleep as late as has been the case recently. Knowing the alarm was going to go off, I was waking up checking the time starting at about 6:30 a.m. (and yes, it did occur to me--briefly--that I could go ahead and get up at that point, but then my "it's summer, dammit!" brain kicked in, and I rolled over and dozed some more). I'm actually surprised I did as much as I did, given how little time I've had to work today.

And now I have to pick stacks of stuff up off the floor so the house cleaner has a clear field to vacuum and pack up my pack for my Friday afternoon rituals, including a riding lesson, the first in a over a month. That'll make for some interesting muscle responses if I make it to yoga class tomorrow...

Well, onward and awkward, as my buddy Jane and I used to say. I get to be a student for the next about 36 hours, which will make a nice shift in the brain focus.

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