Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Musings from Grading Jail

We had another terrific snow this week, after highs in the 50s and all the snow melting away last week. I swear we had a couple days of spring, though I didn't like it at the time because 1) I worry about how the warm-up and refreeze will affect the apple trees (the apple harvests in our areas tanked last year because of a late freeze); 2) I haven't ordered the seeds I'm going to start indoors yet. So the snow means I've gotten a reprieve on that front.

But the grading front? There IS no reprieve. Let me recount for you. I have had one class's projects for an embarrassing length of time. I'd really like to get them back to students on Friday (when I'll be picking up projects from my other class). Then I also have two stacks of other stuff to grade and get back: one from each class. Eeegads. Every quarter I say I'm going to keep on top of grading, and each quarter I get sick, the world seems to collapse, and I get behind.

So. Tot is asleep at an uncharacteristically appropriate nap time. He keeps waking up in the middle of the night and wanting to come in with us, which I let happen because it's much easier than staying up and trying to get him back into his crib. But then I don't get much good sleep. There was a ridiculous moment where the cat was taking up all of Tot's space, who was basically squishing me off the bed. AL manages to sleep through all of this most nights, though there are the nights where he's hanging off the edge of the bed for dear life. A Queen size bed. When Tot got out of bed at 7:30 this morning, I was not a happy camper, especially because my leg hurt from all the weird positions I was sleeping in.

(Can she procrastinate for another paragraph? Yes, she can!) Part of the problem with these projects is that each one takes a long time -- and even though I've done my best to make sure it's on a topic that I'll enjoy reading about, it's still in a format that I never thought I'd be teaching quarter after quarter. It occurs to me that this is not what I went to grad school for. I mean, I remember wanting to teach a class like this so I'd be more competitive on the market. But I didn't realize I'd be teaching this damn thing every quarter.

It looks like we may have to wait a year to buy a house in order to have the two years of solid paychecks from both of us -- and maybe that's a good thing. Despite that I love some of my colleagues (some), maybe I really should look around next job season. Maybe we don't want to stay and put down roots here. (Easy to say that in the winter with the scary slippy-slidey winter driving.) Maybe I don't want to spend my entire career here teaching things I don't value. (I don't always teach things I don't value. Just some of the things I have to teach. In every class, I teach things I value highly -- granted, to students who just couldn't. care. less, but they're the ones who need it the most, right?) I don't know. I do know that I'm inordinately excited about putting my annual report together this year (which is still several months off) because my long-awaited article finally came out and I have another, much smaller, much less prestigious publication (but still!), due out before annual report time. Of course, if I go on the market, this isn't really enough. Well, I'm not going to drive myself crazy. Looking around is not the same as really doing the job market. But in any case, I'm really excited about doing more scholarship and sending things out -- to paraphrase The American President: I don't want to just make tenure; I want to make it with a couple of touchdowns.

But alas. Those papers aren't going to grade themselves. It's even more difficult to get myself to do these because this class has been full of stupid student tricks -- like people just blowing things off and then a bunch of international students who really don't have the literacy to be in the class, yet are. Ah freshmen.

Okay, so I'll try for two projects in the next hour, which is all I can count on Tot to sleep anyway.


Alas, I barely got one done, and Tot is awake! But at least it was interesting.

1 comment:

rented life said...

It is easy to want to move in this weather. The conversation in our house has been: "I hate snow. Let's move somewhere warm. And sunny." Nearly every day.