Thursday, April 26, 2012

End of the semester grumpiness

  • Arrrgh! Why am I not done already? Why are there so many things left to grade before I go into finals week? Why have I allowed people to pile me with late and make-up assignments? Grumble grumble, because the department policy is that you must complete all major assignments to pass the course, and there are a lot of student who I like and have been working hard and who are capable of passing but they did not complete one essay assignment. If I were savvy about my workload I'd have failed and booted all of them already. Which brings me to...
  • Dear officemate: you have weird, fucked-up priorities. And you make all the wrong things be a comment about you and your teaching ability. The fact that half of your remaining students turned in poorly- or un-revised research papers? That is all about them and not a sign you are a failure as a teacher. However, the sign that you have only about 6 down from over 30 students left in each of your courses? That sounds like it is about you and your demeanor in some way. I've only lost about 2 or 3 per class and they are all showing up well within the attendance policy. And don't bitch and moan that you have so much grading right now --- I would love to have such small stacks of assignments. Also, I find it very strange that you had over 20 cases of plagiarism last semester and I had 2. Angry Anarchist beat us all out last year with 5 in one semester. I still feel that if entire classes are doing cut-and-paste jobs on your assignments, you are either structuring something wrong in your assignments or you are coming across so frighteningly (or confusingly) in class that nobody understands what you want and it seems safer to steal what someone else has created than to attempt it themselves. Also,
  • Dear other officemate: I know you are trying very hard and had some good showings in the job market these past couple of years, but I think you are getting some fucked-up advice. Just because you don't have much "committee service" on your cv doesn't mean that you should work on that. You have tons of "research field" service including helping run the national conference for your research area and being a journal reviewer for your favorite author's journal. Every time I saw you this semester, you were doing fiddly crap service for the undergraduate committee, and it seems like you have put everything in life on hold for the last two weeks helping do class observations of all the adjuncts. That is crap work and I don't think it's going to be taken very seriously on your next go at the market. Even if it does help a smidgen, I don't think the payoff is going to be anywhere near the effort you are putting in. And you have added, on the advice of your advisor, a section on your cv listing all the places your research has been cited? That sounds terrible! Seriously, it sounds very chintzy and like you don't know the norms of academia. It's just a given that eventually people will cite you and not really the same sort of "accomplishment" as writing a review or an article. And this is coming from someone who is 99% sure she has not been cited anywhere yet. it just feels one step up from me citing the google searches that find my page.
  • Also, a note to my department and all the various search committees, VAP and lectureships and other jobs I have recently applied to: My summer is about to start very soon and I have no idea what I am doing or where I am going. Let's get some acceptance letters and contracts in the mail, people! Chop chop! (NB: good news only. Rejection letters need not apply.)
  • And as long as I'm bitching about various academic things I would just like to shout a bit about my article, which has been sitting in the "submitted --- awaiting managing editor review" online file of the journal I sent it to since March 15th. Hello, people! Send it out to some reviewers already! I am starting to feel bad that my brain has been 100% consumed by grading for so long, and I would like to see all the research and writing I did earlier this year actually go somewhere.
  • Maybe I should go somewhere and drink heavily instead of grade the rest of the night. Unfortunately, everyone I have talked to in the past couple days is trying to get through their own big grading push. Grumble grumble grumble.


Contingent Cassandra said...

Hang in there! The end is (for better or for worse) in sight! And my sympathies on the dimness of the future; it's really hard to plan ahead when your fate -- and even Floyd -- is resting in others' hands. May good things happen soon.

I agree about the likely value (or lack thereof) of the service binge, and the underlying causes of attrition/plagiarism, and the oddity of the citation list. But I'm not really the best person to judge. My own citation listing would be truly bizarre, since it would contain some references to my undergrad thesis (published as a monograph in a prize series decades ago) and a paper I published in a graduate journal (the archive of which was recently added to a major database, so all of a sudden it's getting attention), plus some lawyer's use of my dissertation as a straw man in an argument he's making for the importance of an author he claims I dismiss, but whom I examined at length and with some seriousness (I haven't gone back to check the places he cited, but I think he may be confusing my argument with those of other authors I cite in order to refute. And why in the world he picked my diss as an example, I can't fathom. I think he may have had a fellowship at my grad university and have been trolling the bound dissertations in the stacks, or something. In any case, if he actually had any familiarity with the scholarship on the author, he could have found dozens of more appropriate things than my diss to cite, whatever argument he wanted to make; heck, if I were inclined to be helpful, I could make some suggestions for better examples to support his point). I think lists of citations may play a role in tenure files in some disciplines (mostly non-humanities), and perhaps that custom has spilled over into the humanities at some universities, but I certainly wouldn't make such a list a standard part of a c.v., and wouldn't include it in an application unless it was specifically requested.

But what do I know? I've never served on a search committee.

Susan said...

No words of wisdom, but your last comment is why I went out for a margarita and fish tacos with a friend tonight.

Anonymous said...

I have mountains of grading but I will drink with you.