Monday, October 20, 2014

I hate my life. My Week? Life? Sleep.

Hooorarghflaglfhooh. Getting ready to completely revamp my intro course to a series of one-on-one student conferences and a portfolio grading system this week. But I'm not cancelling class time; that's bullshit. It says 72 contact hours in the course outline and goddammit kids, that is what you are going to have to put in. But I might end up eating one or more of my students, or colleagues, by the end of the week, with all that face-to-face time. And I still have 12 more essays to grade tonight. Gak.

I'll talk about the faculty observation I underwent later, when I feel up to it. Ditto the "friendly lunch with a colleague" I just underwent. Not happy. Sounded like a threat. No clue how to interpret it or what specifically I would need to change. I wonder when I will find time and energy to look at job listings?


heu mihi said...

72 CONTACT HOURS?? How many credits is this class?

I'm sorry. That all sounds so unpleasant.

Fretful Porpentine said...

Sweet Jesus, cancel the class! This is not something you should feel even remotely guilty about. (Unless, of course, you don't actually WANT to cancel class, in which case, carry on.)

Tree of Knowledge said...

Cancel the class. In comp at least it is standard practice to cancel class for writing conferences. You can require visits to the writing center and give them an assignment to work on to make up for it. But it unreasonable to expect you to put in all of that extra time.

But if you don't want to cancel class, to save your sanity, try some in-class conferences. Have the students workshop or work on group projects while you meet them at the front of the room.

I have also spread out the conferences over multiple essays so that I'm not seeing everyone in the same week/with the same essay (they sign up for which essay). That preserves my sanity and keeps conferences isolated to office hours so I don't have to cancel class.

nicoleandmaggie said...

Another vote for cancel class and use class time for conferences. Hang in there. October is the worst. Hold out for Thanksgiving break, or even just this weekend.

Contingent Cassandra said...

Canceling class to make time for conferences has been standard practice at most of the schools at which I've taught, too (the only exception was my Ivy League grad school, where we were expected to have a 1/2-hour conference outside of class time every two weeks with every freshman comp student. Of course, we had a *total* of 24-30 students spread over *two* sections, so it was perfectly reasonable. In any other circumstance, it wouldn't be, despite the fact that that cc students would probably benefit even more from such attention). Of course, it's a lot easier to implement if you build it into the schedule from day one, so it may or may not make sense to add it at this point in the semester. One argument for trying: students at commuter schools often don't have any wiggle room in their schedules to attend conferences that are scheduled outside of class time. They plan to be on campus for classes, and that's it. All other time is devoted to work, or childcare, or whatever (of course, this raises the question of when they do their class prep., and the lack of a clear answer to that question probably explains a lot more about attrition rates than some of the fancier theories out there, but it's still a reality one has to work around). On the other hand, since I've moved to longer conferences (but no pre-reading of papers), I've offered a Skype alternative for those with tight schedules, which seems to work.

It does sound like your colleagues are sending a message (though what exactly it is may not be clear yet). It's probably a good idea to allocate some time to applying elsewhere, even if that means spending a bit less time trying to make this position work (though that's worth doing, too). I'm sorry; it sounds like a stressful spot to be in.

Sisyphus said...

Noooooooooo I am not cancelling these classes dammit! I NEED that class time because we are actually going over the stuff I planned for the essay this week in the goddamn syllabus!

The students are NOT getting some bullshit freebie week where they don't have to do their work, and they can suck it.

Susan said...

Sis, sorry things are difficult. Let me know if there's any way I can help. But, from what you've said, I think you need to talk to someone and get clarification, but also ask about a mentor who can support you developing as a teacher, and not just turning you into a mini-them.

Oh, and if you can raise standards for the transfers, your colleagues will be most grateful.

Belle said...

I'm with Susan. CCs are increasingly interested in good teaching, so the request for a mentor to translate stuff is a great idea.

Not that you have the time, but if anybody's complaining about how you do things, go sit in and observe their classes! You'd probably be surprised at what all they don't do that you are trying to do. At the very least, you'll have demonstrated your determination to do a good job.