I Think I Can . . . I think I can . . . I think

Starbucks TS

Good morning,

So I had about four paragraphs written and I did something on my new tablet and lost the entire post. Even though it told me it had saved a draft, no such thing was true. Dammit!! I actually began this post last night when I was doing student conferences. I got all of a sentence or two written and then decided to call it a night and actually head home around 9:00 p.m., which was the earliest I have left campus this week. So I continued to write this morning and “poof” it all disappeared. I have done this a couple times with this new tablet and the touch pad mouse. I need to figure some things out. It is not only frustrating, it is not efficient. I am in Starbucks; the picture here is of me in a Starbucks in NYC.

In my last post, I noted that I am hanging on . . . at this point, I think that has changed. I think I am in free-fall (It just did it again and lost a couple more paragraphs!!). I am not sure where the fall will end or how far I will drop. I was speaking with a colleague the other day and lamented some of this. I pondered whether or not it was I was just giving too much work, expecting too much, or merely doing too much. The response was a simple “perhaps”. I have thought about that as I seem to be moving backwards rather than forward. I understand part of it is merely being in an English Department. There is no quick way to grade writing. In addition, with the difficulties I see in student writing, I am inclined to do conferences. While it takes time, the result of those conferences for the students makes those conferences invaluable. I also believe they are necessary because of the deficiencies that are so apparent in many students’ writing. From poor organization and development to failing to move beyond the first thing that comes to mind (i.e. no critical or analytical thinking); from lacking a process to being too lazy to employ the process; from a general lack of grammar or syntax knowledge to believing that such a knowledge is unnecessary, the needs of the students are “legion” to employ a biblical term. The use of that term might be appropriate in more ways than one.

Unfortunately, two weeks of struggling to overcome a sinus infection has had serious consequences. I am so far behind in my grading that I need to postpone some things. Out of fairness to my students, I cannot ask them to hand in more work when I have not provided adequate feedback on what they have already written. That being said, the next few days are going to be spent in front of the computer. I need about 96 hours of straight grading. It is my hope that I will be caught up by the end of next week. I have been asked if I have made my own personal trek to the Bloomsburg Fair, the yearly event where 100s of thousands people make a pilgrimage to eat bad food and ride on contraptions that might be scarier than the carni operating them. As you can see, I have a rather dubious view of the grand Bloomsburg gathering. I have gone at least once every year I have been here (with the exception of two years ago when it was flooded out), but I think that streak might go by the wayside this year.

All in all, let me end on a positive note. As a general statement, I am pleased with my fall students. Many of them seem engaged and sincere about their work. As I have been doing student conferences this week, I have read some nice work. There are some who need to work much harder, but for the most part, I think the vast majority are headed in a good direction. Well, before I lose this again, I am going to stop.

Thanks for reading.

Michael

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