I am doing my best here to maintain a sense of humor. Not that I’ve been dealing with annoying students or anything–that’s part of the problem–they’ve been great! I had anticipated knocking out at least two sets of papers yesterday and should have been more than able to to inside of three hours. Even with the student I busted plagiarizing. I actually should have been able to knock out three short stacks. But no. Of those three hours, 2 of them were filled with students who wanted to hang out and chat. Of course, I could have kicked them out and said, "okay, I’ve got to get these graded," but I was just so flattered that not only did I have several students who actually were not afraid to enter my office, but they wanted to like sit down and talk to me. Ask me questions. Delight in my asking them what their plans are. It was such a bizarre moment for me that I couldn’t turn it away. One, too, is one who’s been in my class for two semesters now and I wasn’t even sure she really was enjoying the classes at all. I was talking to one student who had said he wasn’t sure about the lit class at first but ended up really like the books we read. I said, "it’s a tough time period to sell. I think when people want American lit, they want 20th century stuff, not my time period." And his reply? "You sold it really well. I had a lot of fun." Sure, it would have been perfect had he said, "and I learned a lot, too" but right now, I need to assume that that’s in there, and right now I need, for the sake of my continued employment and to erase the memory of last year, I need people in the halls to be hearing positive things about my class. And I got a lot of "thank yous" from students, too, which prior to this semester, it was only my fan who was thanking me. (Not that ze was not sincere, but it is a bit more reassuring to know that students who are not unhealthily attached to me are appreciative). I did receive a very nice email from a student, an email which will go into my tenure file. She was a handful sometimes, but it clearly made a difference for her and she feels like she got a lot out of the class, and she has waaaaaaaaaaay more confidence in herself and her abilities than she did at the beginning of the semester, so that makes it worth it.
Look, I know it’s not a popularity contest. I want my students to learn from me as much as like me, or rather appreciate and respect me, and the ones in my office seemed really really genuine. I have a handful I don’t trust–the kinds of students who are only supportive of the class as long as they are doing well or who think that if they bat their eyes and be cute they can turn it work that doesn’t do the assignment and still make a C. But for my own self confidence as an instructor, which I think the higher my confidence is, the better an instructor I am, I need to see the students who like me (or at the least don’t hate me), who got value out of the class(es), and who had fun doing so, and who learned stuff. This was a really good semester on the teaching front.
Granted, there’s still a lot I need to work on. Organization. Using my office hours for actual grading and prep. Finding a place on campus to hide not in my office so I can work if mine and my new office mate’s office hours conflict. Granted, I know I should be grading right now. I should be knocking some stuff out. I have a second girl I suspect of plagiarizing, so I’ve got to effing deal with that, too. But, surprisingly, I’m not angry about it like last year. I’m annoyed that it’s more work for me, but I’m not flying off the handle. Yeah, it’s disrespectful of me and the class; it’s rude, but is my getting angry and pissed off about it and losing sleep over the fact that a student plagiarized going to a) change the situation; b) make it less work; c) do anything positive for me? No. I have too much other shit to do than to take it personally. Perhaps I should, but whatever. I’ll write my report, send it off, and be done with it. It’s a shame. I liked this kid, too, but hey, the student pulled from four different websites by page five. I stopped reading. I figured four different sources was quite enough.
The other student I think might have plagiarized–well, if I don’t find anything, ze used Magill’s as a scholarly theoretical article in which ze was supposed to engage in a conversation with, which might be okay I guess if it’s a legit article, but it looks more like the plot summary version and not a scholarly critical essay. Plus I can’t find it. So we’ll see. Which means that ze might only have one legit article for the research paper which means a D at best for not completing the assignment, so I might could just save myself the trouble with that. I mean, seriously? One student used an encyclopedia as her "scholarly" source. About 1/3 of the students in the class either should not be in college or at the very least, should not be English majors. But most of them are Ed majors who chose English because it’s "easier than science." No, really, it’s not. It’s just different work. At least in mine and most of my colleagues’ classes, I would not say that our major is any less rigorous than a science or math major. And if you hate reading and writing, how are you going to be a decent, let alone effective, English teacher? I fear for our youth if many of the students in my class actually go on to teaching English. I may have to move. Or home school. Seriously.
On top of this, I got majorly sick after lunch yesterday. Like we’re talking Pepto as a night cap with a Pepto chaser. So no grading and no baking got done last night when I got I home. It was crackers and chicken noodle soup and the couch for me. I don’t even know what time The J came to bed, but I see that he made like 60 cookies and truffles. Wow.
Speaking of The J: he’s all registered! Did I tell you that he got into school? He’s finally going to finish his undergrad! He was really worried about getting into Village Town College where I work (I need another name for school) because he’s had a lackluster, say, college career, so not many of his courses count toward his degree, which is also because of the program he’s chosen. He plans on entering the civil engineering program. It’s three years here and he leaves with a math degree and two years at another school for the civil engineering part where he walks out with a civil engineering degree. Kinda like a double major, but done at two different schools. I’m so proud of him. But I was walking him around campus yesterday and from office to office speaking for him like I was his mother. I was embarrassed at myself for doing that, but it was only because I’m so proud of him! I really am! And one of us will have a degree that is marketable and has a high earning potential. And my aunt’s brother is a civil engineer in NO, so there is a chance of moving home in five years or so! Of course, that means I have to hope for a job there or I give up the t-t to adjunct, but I can’t think about that right now. too much can happen in five years. And his class schedule is arranged around mine. Unfortunately, he has to do some back and forth driving on MW because the dogs will need to go out–he’s got like a five and a half hour break between two of his classes, so he’s in charge of that. And on the occasional TR one of us will have to hang out while the other is in meetings or classes, but that’s not bad. I guess I just work at that time. So yay for him! I’m so proud!
I should consider grading or baking at this moment. Maybe finishing up that plagiarism issue. I could probably knock out a fair amount of stuff in the next 45 minutes. I could probably knock most of it out this morning if I weren’t going to work out, but I must work out. I need to work out. It’s really kept my sanity in tact the last week and a half. Gawd, and I have packing and cleaning to do tonight, too. Argh. All right, well I guess it’s time for me to put up or shut up and get to work.