Sunday, October 10, 2010

I'm gonna cry!

I had such big hopes and plans for fall break --- I was gonna go see Dissertation Buddy on a cross-country trip; her familial home is near A Famous Author's house and I thought it would be so fun to see her stomping ground and her and do some silly literary-touristing! It would have been so cool --- apples, trees changing colors... fall! And yet I cannot.

I finally went to check my dates and match them up with my syllabus; I only have one day off, not the entire week. Thank dog I have that at least as I am so seriously behind on grading; I haven't gotten through all three comp classes' essays yet and already they have turned in a new response paper, with another one coming soon. And I get midterms for my Literary Stripey Class right before the break. I'm gonna have to use that weekend and extra day to haul ass on grading and then just prep the rest of the week like it was a normal weekend. Sigh.

Maybe I can actually clean some of my apartment on the day off. Another sigh. I will probably haul ass on grading all weekend and then haul ass on job applications on the free day. Grumble grumble grumble. This really is hard! I don't like being a responsible grownup; I want to go back to being a grad student. Or unemployed and delusional about what I should be doing during the day.

Dude, if I had some way of sending my grading back in a time machine to myself during the time I was sitting around worrying myself sick (literally!) and feeling like there was nothing to do but wait... oh, that would be so awesome. Unemployed self had lots of free time during the day and could just do maybe 5 essays a day, no big deal. And I could put my stacks of grading in the Time Machine and just close the door and prep class for a while and then *ding* open the door to find a nice hot stack of freshly graded essays.

Someone build that machine for me, would you? I gotta make a midterm.


Fie upon this quiet life! said...

If you get that time machine figured out, let me know. I've got all sorts of stuff to say to and give to my old self.

I hate when I have a technical vacation in which I spend every minute working. It's a little hard on the "will to continue." Sigh.

Tree of Knowledge said...

I would also like that time machine, please. We don't have a Fall break, just Thanksgiving. So I envy your extra day.

Grading sucks, but the good thing about teaching 4 classes is that you eventually figure out how to grade an essay in 10 minutes or less. I mean, you still spend 14 hours grading to get through all 4 classes, but you get through it. I say this with 4 sets of essays to grade looming over me, which I have been neglecting in favor of washing dishes (my least favorite chore) and reading sci-fi.

You can do it!

Susan said...

If it helps, I never worked as hard as I did my first year of teaching. But I'll take the grading machine; it would be nice if it miraculously gave each paper an argument etc.

We have Veterans Day off (I'd have been away anyway, traveling to a conference) but our only fall break is Thanksgiving.

Lucky Jane said...

There, there, chica!

It gets better—or rather, you get better at it. At my first VAP gig, my load was 3/3, which included an unhealthy helping of comp AND face time galore with many little Snotleigh IVs. At first paper deadlines meant camping out at the coffee house until the wee hours, which in turn meant a lame sort of walk of shame in a quite dangerous city. Before long, I started organizing alcoholic grading parties with fellow temp colleagues. You mentioned other new PhDs in your position, so perhaps you can encourage each other? But yeah, time machine.

Another possibility that perhaps works better for lit classes than comp is to stagger due dates: in a novel-heavy course, for example, I'd post prompts to the CMS for each novel, and students would have two weeks after the last discussion date to submit a paper—no extensions. I usually schedule something notoriously hairy for the last possible deadlines (one due at midterm, the other between mid term and the last day of class), so students are diligent about avoiding the last deadline.

Good luck! Now, back to my own self-generated mountain of grading.