Stuff!

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This is a long one. Good stuff though, good stuff. Not a lot of bitching at all. Just kinda catching up. 🙂

We made it to Home City! Yay! And with little incident, too. By the time we were about three hours away, fuses ran short, but hell, after being in a car for 9 hours already and then 8 the day before, well, that seems about par for the course I guess. No flat tires this time. Some construction that we managed to skirt around, no thanks to the tom-tom–we followed a whole line of cars that seemed to have drivers who knew what they were doing, so it only set us back about 30 minutes. I finally got sleep last night, after about three nights of not really getting any, so I’m almost recovered from the drive at this point. Too bad we turn around again on Tuesday to do it again, but it’s cool. We’re going to my grandparents’, and I haven’t been there in like 9 years, and The J has never been there, and he’ll get to meet some of the nuttier people in the family he’s not had the pleasure of meeting yet. Then it’s to NOLA! Yay! for that too!

I guess I’ve had a bunch of annoying emails from students after grades were posted. A couple weren’t bad, but seriously? You don’t turn in work and you think you’re going to pass? Really? And then you want to act all shocked and bitch at me about it? Seriously? One of my plagiarists I heard from once. One is insisting (the one who’s been plagiarizing all semester who I finally caught) is insisting ze did nothing wrong. Well, the provost and the chair have the evidence. Go ahead. Try your luck. The other one, well, it was really the most disappointing to see that ze cheated, and while I have lost all respect for hir, I can at least respect just copping to it without all the bitching and "it’s just a coincidence all that stuff is on the web, too. What are the odds that someone else wrote exactly what I wrote?" But ze just said that ze was disappointed in hirself, apologized for betraying my trust especially since I had helped hir a lot, admitted to being stupid and doing that and wanted to know what happens next. Granted ze only says this because ze got caught, but I can give some credit for at least taking responsibility for hir actions. Another stu doesn’t think it’s fair that I failed hir paper for being 2.5 pages short of the minimum and said that since ze didn’t know that I was going to count it off so much, could ze keep working on it over break. Um, no.

However, despite my grumblings and the 10+ annoying emails I’ve gotten about grades not being fair since Monday morning, I had some really fine students this semester. Really. I got some fascinating papers in both the intro to the majors class and the literature class. I had one of those teaching semesters where I could see the students click with the material and what it means to start writing like an English major and really see their participation improve, their writing improve, their critical thinking skills improve, and their confidence improve. I had some great moments. I’m trying to do better at remembering that rather than the five rotten apples who make my life hell, because it’s the other 95% that I should focus on. I think I’ve gotten better at that, but the last week and a half has been bitching about plagiarists. It’s just so freaking time consuming to have to deal with them. Had I not had to last week, my grading would have been done by Thursday. I wouldn’t have had to drag essays with me to Home City, get up early before we left the hotel on Sunday and grade and get up early Monday and grade. I’ve been thinking about how fix that issue though.

I think next semester, final papers are going to be due the week before finals week. That way, if there are plagiarists, I can deal with that before the semester is over, and I won’t have to deal with a host of emails about "why did I fail? I swear I didn’t plagiarize. I don’t understand" blah, blah, blah. The students won’t be surprised that I busted them (well they will, but it will be before they get their final grades), and then I can start the summer without their b.s. Of course that means that I have to give a final instead of letting the final paper be their final which is more grading; however, I think in the long run, it’s less work for me. So I think that’s how it’s going to have to be. Plus, I think in class final essays are take less time because they’re not as long as a 10 page research paper obviously, so the last two weeks will be grading, grading, grading, but I’d rather two weeks of grading than a gazillion emails. Anybody else do that? Have the final paper due the week before the final rather than during finals week? If so, does it work out better?

Switching gears…

I got my hair done yesterday here in Home City with my girl here whom I adore totally and completely. And let me tell you, this is the best I’ve felt about my appearance since June. Truly. Even The J commented on how he couldn’t believe that I was smiling about my hair and that I wasn’t crying and commented that this was the first time I’ve had a hair cut since June that he hasn’t seen me cry about it. The color is totally different from anything I’ve had in a long, long, time. It was really dark, like it’s been for quite some time, but it had some cherry color in it. That took about two hours to bleach out. But my hair took it really well, surprisingly. It’s actually still quite soft. It was supposed to be a medium to dark brown (not like dark like before) with like some caramel highlights. It’s a bit lighter than that. It’s more like this. Sorta. Maybe a tad bit lighter, but you get the general picture on the color. The J thinks it makes me look younger. I agree. And my hairdresser fixed the cut. So now, I finally feel good about myself from the neck up. And I’ve already lost 4-4.5 pounds on the WW since my birthday two weeks ago, so that helps, too.

Anyway, that’s all the news that’s fit to print. I hope you all have a great holiday!

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8 responses »

  1. Anybody else do that? Have the final paper due the week before the final rather than during finals week? If so, does it work out better?
    I always do that because at my institution they don’t like paper-as-final in any but comp courses. At any rate, what I typically do in upper-level courses is I do a “presentation” style final where students have to talk about very specific pieces of the course, and we eat food and it’s a nice culminating experience sort of thing, but that only works in classes of 15-20 – more than 20 and its impossible. In lower-level classes, I do a final that is primarily not-essay, in 300-level courses I tend to do an all-essay final and give a take-home option or an in-class option. (If they do the take-home they have to answer more questions but they get their choice of what they answer; if they do the in-class, I pick the questions but it’s less work for them to write the exam.)
    In any case, it’s really not that big of a deal to grade them, and you can actually make them worth not very much so if a student is solidly in the middle of a grade range sometimes you don’t even need to grade the final – basically, the final only “counts” for borderline students.

  2. Anybody else do that? Have the final paper due the week before the final rather than during finals week? If so, does it work out better?

    I always do that because at my institution they don’t like paper-as-final in any but comp courses. At any rate, what I typically do in upper-level courses is I do a “presentation” style final where students have to talk about very specific pieces of the course, and we eat food and it’s a nice culminating experience sort of thing, but that only works in classes of 15-20 – more than 20 and its impossible. In lower-level classes, I do a final that is primarily not-essay, in 300-level courses I tend to do an all-essay final and give a take-home option or an in-class option. (If they do the take-home they have to answer more questions but they get their choice of what they answer; if they do the in-class, I pick the questions but it’s less work for them to write the exam.)

    In any case, it’s really not that big of a deal to grade them, and you can actually make them worth not very much so if a student is solidly in the middle of a grade range sometimes you don’t even need to grade the final – basically, the final only “counts” for borderline students.

  3. Anybody else do that? Have the final paper due the week before the final rather than during finals week? If so, does it work out better?

    I always do that because at my institution they don’t like paper-as-final in any but comp courses. At any rate, what I typically do in upper-level courses is I do a “presentation” style final where students have to talk about very specific pieces of the course, and we eat food and it’s a nice culminating experience sort of thing, but that only works in classes of 15-20 – more than 20 and its impossible. In lower-level classes, I do a final that is primarily not-essay, in 300-level courses I tend to do an all-essay final and give a take-home option or an in-class option. (If they do the take-home they have to answer more questions but they get their choice of what they answer; if they do the in-class, I pick the questions but it’s less work for them to write the exam.)

    In any case, it’s really not that big of a deal to grade them, and you can actually make them worth not very much so if a student is solidly in the middle of a grade range sometimes you don’t even need to grade the final – basically, the final only “counts” for borderline students.

  4. Anybody else do that? Have the final paper due the week before the final rather than during finals week? If so, does it work out better?

    I always do that because at my institution they don’t like paper-as-final in any but comp courses. At any rate, what I typically do in upper-level courses is I do a “presentation” style final where students have to talk about very specific pieces of the course, and we eat food and it’s a nice culminating experience sort of thing, but that only works in classes of 15-20 – more than 20 and its impossible. In lower-level classes, I do a final that is primarily not-essay, in 300-level courses I tend to do an all-essay final and give a take-home option or an in-class option. (If they do the take-home they have to answer more questions but they get their choice of what they answer; if they do the in-class, I pick the questions but it’s less work for them to write the exam.)

    In any case, it’s really not that big of a deal to grade them, and you can actually make them worth not very much so if a student is solidly in the middle of a grade range sometimes you don’t even need to grade the final – basically, the final only “counts” for borderline students.

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