Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wastin' the day away in Procrastinatavile*

Out on the back deck,
Doing a grade check
All of these essays still left to mark.
Countin’ those piles, and shufflin’ those files
Look at my pace
And the future seems dark.

Wastin’ the day away in Procrastinataville
Searchin' for my lost days of free time.

Some people claim that there's a student to blame,

But I know it's nobody's fault.

Don't know the reason,

I sat here all season

With nothing to show but all these facebook posts.

But look at these cat pics

And all of these “like” clicks
--- If nothing gets done
Then my ass is toast.

Wastin’ the day away in Procrastinataville
Searchin' for my lost days of free time.

Some people claim that there's a student to blame,
But I know it's my own damn fault.

I got carpal tunnel,
From writing my ---- shit, is this supposed to rhyme?
Ugh! Ok, maybe I'll try finishing this next essay then.
Ooh wait, am I out of diet Coke? Hey, I think I still have beer...

* procrastination has been proven to destroy one’s metrical ability, as well as one's ability to finish things

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Wait, we were supposed to *remember* that?

Never again will I complain that teachers are not teaching my students how to write, and neither should you. If you are a prof in another discipline and have ever said, "what do those English teachers *do* over there all day? Did these students somehow escape the required composition classes?"  then read on.

I have 3 students who have followed me from first semester composition over to intro-to-lit this semester, and they are 3 students who I quite like and who did fine, although they were not my best writers or smartest thinkers. Not having a bad memory, I remember perfectly well what days they were in class (pretty much all of them) and can even remember what they said on these specific class days. There's no reason I should be hearing, "wait, the homework should be typed?" or "what do you mean, a thesis," or "I don't know how to use those parenthesis things; I've never seen them before." Arrrrgh! Of course everything must be typed and I remember you using and discussing all of these things last semester!

In other news, there is such a huge difference between accidentally grabbing and starting with the two best papers in the stack and the two worst. Whew, I hope these are the worst. I handed back the intro to lit papers within a week and the whole process was pretty enjoyable. The first semester comp? Ugh --- I got through about 8 yesterday (after having a mini-crisis that I have failed as a teacher, after those first two essays) but did nothing grading-related today. I am going to be hating myself all this week because of that. It didn't help that it was absolutely beautiful outside today and all the birds are back doing their lovely squawks and chirps and my back balcony was just a marvelous place to be.

And if the springitis is this bad for me ... oogh I don't want to wrestle these students into compliance.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Brilliant Idea Gone Awry, #492

Now that I have about 87 million identical school keys jammed onto my key ring, I thought that getting a key topper or otherwise marking my office key was in order.

Tonight I was tidying up and looking at my bottle of red nail polish and said, "brilliant! I can just leave a spot on each side and mark out my office door key for free!"

Of course I didn't want to remove it from the key ring, and that stupid mini flashlight I have on it bobbled everywhere, and now I have red on it and flecks on the non office keys and tons of crap on my hands ---- nowhere near my nails, I should add. 

Where are my cats, where are my cats? If they swish those keys off the table before its polish dries, I'm gonna kill! Who knew that this would be even worse than trying to paint one's own toes?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

How evil should I be to my intro-to-lit students?

They have a midterm on poetry terms coming up, as well as a close reading poetry analysis. I added this test in here so I would have less weight on the final, and also to smack the students upside their heads a little while still very early in the semester ---- thinking that this might change their studying behaviors for the better, without scaring them from the class entirely.

Now of course I am going back and forth on evil-ness, being as indecisive as usual. Last week we had a day with activities that went, of course, horribly, because not only had they not done the reading, they didn't listen to the directions I gave them (willfully, perhaps) when I tried on the fly to re-vamp the exercise to avoid their unpreparednes and many of the groups ended up doing an analysis of the encyclopedia article summarizing the myth we were looking at instead of the poems re-interpreting it. Argh.

But on the other hand they are all turning in their homework regularly and it is starting to sound, almost in spite of themselves, like literary analysis. And some of them have great insights or patches of great insights in their homework, so some of them might be slacking more because the class is too easy than too hard. It is, as always, hard to tell.

Anyway, I could collect their essays and jump right into the next literary genre, handing out the short piece I usually discuss at the beginning of the semester, or I could do a poetry terms review day for the midterm. We only have 50 minutes, so I don't think we have time for both.

I haven't even decided on the format of the midterm, which could be fill-ins or matching or identifying material from sample poems or pretty much anything, I don't know. My group last semester really freaked out about the final and I came in 1/2 an hour early to find them in groups, studying their little hearts out, with notes and diagrams strewn everywhere and some of them reading the literary terminology passages I had assigned for the first time, I'm sure. I'd love to scare them into that state of being earlier in the semester than the final, and hopefully get them in the habit of reading and studying. I say that but now am at the stage in the semester where I don't feel like doing it or grading it.

Of course, recall of terms isn't really the same as analysis or synthesis, and I am seeing in the homework the same old problem of people trying to figure out bits of the formal qualities and some summary of the poem but no idea of how to put the two together. And maybe it would be better to do the midterm before the paper next time, to push them into learning the terms and then applying them? Hmm.

Any thoughts? Should I take a poll on evil vs. non-evil? Anybody got any good midterm torture ideas? I guess you could make a case for clemency too.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Decorating Decisions

I have finally put something up on a wall in my apartment! You might remember that trying to make these sorts of decisions always gives me the urge to move. 

I like it, and want to get something really vertical-y (is that a word?) for the other wall bit. Those are photos I took and I've had them a while --- they were up in my last place. 

But there were four. I don't think I'd like it with four frames in that spot, but then what do I do with picture no. 4? It doesn't have a stand on the back. 

Hmm. Difficulties. Maybe I should take all these down and put them somewhere else.

Now you see why I never have anything on my walls, eh?