Saturday, May 26, 2012

Oh a conferencing I will go!

Well folks, the quarter is over, the husband and I are in a fancy place for my conference and I've been conferencing away.

Can I say that it has been an amazing conference? OMG! It's like the raddest one yet, yo! I feel a little bad because I've been actually "conferencing," going to panels and stuff, and the husband has just been hanging out, but one of our friends from BLT-U is here, too (we were on the same panel), and he has NOT been conferencing at all except our panel, so the husband has been hanging out with him. I feel bad; we've not actually seen any of the sights yet or really done anything--the husband has walked and run around the city so far, but even with our lack of touristing, it's actually been a bit of a vacation. I finished my paper up the morning we left, so I wouldn't have to worry about it. I did some read throughs (right? is that the right word? why can't I think this morning?) and some small edits here and there, but it was nice not to have to "work" on the paper while at the conference. I had some grand plans for what we'd do here, and there's still today though. There have been three other panels that I've needed to go to though besides mine: the one I chaired, the other society's panel, and my old prof's and friend's panel. Today I need to go to one more and then that's it until the reception thingy.

Also, one of my friends from grad school is here! I didn't know she was going to be here until the day I got to the conference when I was looking at the program at the airport. I haven't seen her since she graduated five years ago! Or maybe it'll be closer to six. Anyway, she and her husband hung out with our group twice and last night we really got to catch up on a lot of stuff, and while we were friends at Grad City U, I do wish that we had hung out more than we did, but we both were really always sort of on autopilot with our stuff. But anyway, it's been so wonderful to hang out with her and meet her husband and her husband and mine really hit it off, so that was great to see that, too.

Our panel went amazing, btw. One of the best attended that I had seen, and it helped that it was scheduled at a very choice time, too. My former prof/mentor/friend came and said it was the best of my papers I had done yet (and this is four he has seen now), and he's been really supportive and encouraging with the writing and keeping the fire to my feet regarding publishing. One of his friends from grad school, another person in the field, also came too and had some really positive things to say about it and gave me a little applause when I was done with my paper.

What I love about this conference and why I go broke every summer trying to come to it and why I bust my ass and get stressed out about the deadlines and stuff right after Christmas is because this conference has been really really good for me. Since the last three of my four papers have dealt with the same field of study (the one five years ago, when I was still a grad student came from my diss and was by far the worst of the papers), I am now being sort of groomed, perhaps for lack of a better word, for the field by the top scholars in the field right now. And this is what's great about this group and the conference--they think my ideas are good; they are encouraging me and helping me network and giving me advice about what I need to do to help to make sure I get the scholarship I need to get out there for myself, for the field, and for tenure. That's what's wonderful about them--they are senior, established scholars who are good friends with even more senior and established scholars, and they're not like "talk to me when you have a book" people. So they are trying to foster the development of the field with the people they want to see in it, and they are very welcoming to junior scholars (whether grad student or early career profs).

The other thing, too, and this struck me last night as my grad school friend and I were talking, because she's disillusioned it seems with the publishing stuff for tenure and feels confined by the ebbing and flowing of trends in scholarship (although it sounds, as always, that she is doing some brilliant stuff in the field she is slowly moving in to), and feels very much like "who cares about this stuff? like four people?" At which point you have to do something publishable that *you* enjoy and care about. What I like about how this conference has developed for me is that there are more than four people out there who care about the stuff that I'd like to do. Or maybe it still really is just the same four people in the field, but the point is that they care enough for it to be important for the field that it does matter in the grand scheme of things. And that's what I get out of this conference and being around this group of scholars. Unlike MLA (I know there are those of you who love the MLA, so no offense to you) where I leave the conference just wanting to kill myself because I feel like everyone is walking around hoping to detect a fraud or looking for the stars (which admittedly is a cool thing about MLA, and Dr. Crazy has a cool story from last year's MLA if I remember correctly). But here, I feel like I matter. I feel energized and ready to go forth and do scholarship when I leave this conference. I feel revitalized and reinvigorated by my field and my ideas and other people's ideas. I learn new things at this conference.  And I think it's important for non-tenured folks to feel like they matter.

My grad school friend and I were talking about how demoralizing the tenure process can be even at places where the scholarship requirements are not a book, and that's one of the things that helps me at this conference--the last thing I feel here is demoralized or stupid. And granted this year at the new job has not been one of demoralization at all (sadness and disappointment over my friend's tenure denial, but not demoralization; perhaps a week of disillusionment and frustration here and there, but not demoralization), but I think we all need to feel like we're doing something worthwhile, for our field, for our students, for ourselves. We all need to feel important every once in a while in a meaningful way. And that's why I like this conference and why I've switched fields. I know that there are people out there reading when I'm working on, paying attention to what I'm working on, and people care about what I have to say. It's not just about publishing crap but about being a part of a conversation about stuff I love with other people who are invested in the same books and ideas I am. It's about the ideas and sharing those ideas with this group. And I'm thankful and lucky that I get to be a part of that, especially this early in my career.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Almost Summer Lovin'

On today's agenda, rather on this morning's agenda is to work on the conference paper and work out (this afternoon I've got to sit in on some interviews on Skype for the search committee I'm on, so I'm losing a block of time in the afternoon).  I've got about 5/8 pages. Since there are four of us presenting, I'm shooting for just 8. It's rough right now. I think I can get the draft finished today and start cleaning some of it up a little bit. And then if I have to, I'll keep working on it on the plane tomorrow afternoon.

It's funny, but I have developed a pre-conference ritual for this particular conference. I realized yesterday as I was participating in my ritual. It involves going to Home City (for the past four years I've attended this conference I've left it from Home City regardless of where I live during the academic year), getting a hair cut, buying toiletries from my favorite bath store, buying something to wear to the conference (more on that in a minute), and getting a mani/pedi. It also usually involves buying make up, but I did that here over the spring, and I'm broke and we had to get the husband's sister a graduation gift. So I'm trying to be frugal. It also involves going to B&N. As we were at the mall yesterday, I told the husband that he was witnessing what has become the pre-conference ritual--and I buy the clothes I'm going to wear at the conference from the EXACT SAME STORE every year!

Something about this conference, while a very very friendly conference for its size, makes me incredibly self conscious, but it also makes me want to be at my best; to make the best impression impossible, even though I see the same people year after year, one of whom has known me for almost 15 years now. And my wardrobe NEVER works out for me the way that I want it to for this conference. I imagine in my head what I want to look like and how I want to present myself, and it never works out that way. During the packing process for this trip, I suddenly become a horrifically ugly moron who's just one step away from being exposed as a total fraud and that there are people who will take my degree away from me. I'll come back from the conference embarrassed and jobless, and that'll be it. I'll have to go live under a rock and change my name to run from my embarrassment. This is what goes through my mind in the days before the conference and while I'm trying to at least make myself presentable.

Of course, there is something to be said for a fresh new hair cut and a mani/pedi and a new dress.

There's also something about being in Home City that fills me with this weird anxiety. Which is funny because the husband's family, especially his mom and his brothers are the most laid back non-judgmental people I've ever known, and they LOVE me. But I always feel guilty like they are quietly judging me because I took their son/brother away to live away from the family. Granted, he's a grown man and could have said, "nope, we can't date because you'll move away one day and I don't want to. Sorry." And I feel even more guilty because I found a job closer to my family and not to his. So you know, there's a relative degree of anxiety for me about that, even though I know it's not my fault that no schools around here were advertising for a job in my field when I applied for the job at BLT-U. But, oh well. Once I have the paper done and once I get out to conference city, none of that will matter for I do love conference city with a love that is pure and true.

So I need to be thinking now what I need to accomplish for the summer. I'd like to actually wait until my summer really begins in July to focus on the things I need to do and just teach now, which perhaps seems counterintuitive because you'd think I'd want to work and then play but a M-F six week freshman comp class? Yikes.

While I'm teaching, I'd like to work on the article that I needed to write by June 1. That won't happen. I'll have to shoot for June 15th.

Here's what I hope to get done. Of course it's an ambitious list, but they always are at the beginning of summer are they not? I plan on taking off the last two weeks of August to do nothing but relax, play, and travel, too, by the way.
  • First and foremost, finish the dam conference paper.
  • Write the shorter article by June 15th.
  • Have longer article ready to be sent out by August 11th. 
  • Read for pleasure.
  • Read for work.
  • Work on course proposal.
  • Work on fall syllabus.
  • Join a pool.
  • Stay on track with health and fitness goals.
  • Finish getting the office and the guest room organized.
  • Get all stuff to Goodwill. Get rid of stuff not needed. 
And then between 8.15-09.01--do whatever the hell I want!

And on that note, I'm going to get to work on that conference paper so I then go work out. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012


With the exception of graduation this afternoon, I'm DONE! DONE for the godforsaken spring quarter! Of course I'm not done for the summer yet; I get a nice 10 day reprieve, and then it's back to the grindstone for summer quarter. And there is the matter of the conference paper to finish writing; however, I will go work out and then work on the conference paper at which point I hope to be finished with that before the graduation ceremony--or at least a full draft of it. And then we leave tomorrow morning bright and early. Yippee!

I was done with all the grades but one by 1:30 yesterday.  A little bit later than my goal time I had set for myself; however, I just stayed at school and finished up. It was great. I was so manically giddy at lunch and for the rest of the afternoon. I felt so free! Woo-hoo! And those grades are in a full five days ahead of schedule! Now time for a nice run!

Friday, May 18, 2012

On exercise and making it through finals week

One thing that I've learned this month is pacing and moderation. First of all, after changing our diet to about 50% Paleo around Thanksgiving, it's been easy to see how things work and don't work (as far as my body is concerned) with certain food choices. And for the last month, we've been following it pretty strictly (the husband eats what he wants--he usually has chips or cake or something like that for himself), and seriously, yo. One of my cookbooks has a 30 day meal plan--everything from breakfast to snacks to dinner--and that's what we had been eating off of for the last three weeks. We were without a fridge for a few days, so we couldn't shop and store things for part of this week (we had a cooler, one can only fit so much in a cooler, and at least the freezer was still working), so this week has been more improvisational but still in the spirit of the meal plan, in spite of my dark chocolate (some trainers say dark chocolate, like 85% is ok. I need something sometimes, you know).

Anyway, my point of all of this is, for like the first time since I was about 12 (sad, right? and maybe perhaps the first year after my divorce) I have not been counting calories, logging food, keeping track of calories burned or even measuring stuff out. OH.MY.GOD! I feel so liberated! Eating out can be a bit tricky, but not really. Now, it's not like there weren't struggles during the month, but on the whole, holy shit. Seriously. I feel better than I ever felt on any vegan or vegetarian diet. For me, I may have found what works. And this is the first time in the history of this blog (in all its incarnations) that I have been working out consistently and have been losing weight consistently over the last five and a half months. Usually my M.O. is to talk about how great I've been doing for a month, then some crazy academic crisis hits or I get my period or something derails me, I undo everything in the span of the two or three weeks, and then boom, back to square one, and the broken record begins again. I'm going into summer feeling pretty good without having to think about summer as "finally the time when I'll get back into shape."

Again, it's liberating.

What has gotten me through finals week so far is that I've made sure that I'm exercising. One thing that I've been doing since January, that exercise is a part of, is making sure I take care of myself. This has meant ignoring certain things--the house isn't always clean; I don't obsess over class prep, and I do probably slack a little bit in it. But if I'm stressed, tired, and miserable, all the preparation for class isn't going to mean shit if I can't deliver it. And when I'm taking care of myself, I'm a better professor and a better wife, and I'm a better mom to the dogs.

I have also changed my workouts in the last month, too. I've decided that Mr. P90X and I need to go on a break if we ever hope to repair our relationship. I understand he has a product to sell, but his animosity to the principles I hold dear are starting to wear on me. I have found strength, beauty, and self confidence in the Cross Fit/Paleo lifestyle (which has been a part of what I've been doing since January, but only the focus really in the last month), and I do take it a bit personally (although we've never met) to hear that being torn down in public forums. Perhaps it is "trendy," but Mr. P90X, so are you, so there.

Anyway, the point is, I have some long term goals now that go beyond just getting into a particular pair of pants or my bikini for summer or getting to a certain size (which is part of the goal, but not THE goal). I think I have finally been able to look at these changes as lifestyle changes not diet and exercise, but the things that make me part of who I am. And they make me able to take care of myself which keeps me from completely losing my shit during finals week with all the grading, for example. Rather, I'm finally starting to feel comfortable, for the first time ever maybe, in my own skin.

Now if I can just get that conference paper and those two articles written...

So close to being done for the quarter.

Wow folks, it's been a week or so right since my last post? It has been a grading tornado here at chez Maude. Okay, not quite like that. More like a controlled fire. Would you like the breakdown of what I've been doing all week?

I offered the students extra credit if they turned their take home exams in early (to make my life easier, but they thought it was for them). Several took me up on the offer. While it has meant that I've been grading since Monday, it also meant that I only had one, just one marathon grading day to deal with.

Monday--I graded 15 lit analyses and 15 take home exams and calculated all the grades thus far.
Tuesday--I graded 15 lit analyses and 9 take home exams and calculated all the grades thus far.
Wednesday--I graded 18 freshman comp essays, calculated all their grades thus far, and graded about 15 more take home exams and dealt with a plagiarizer.
Thursday--I graded all of the MWF in class exams, finished their take home exams (about 5 left for that class), graded the remaining 18 take home exams from the TR class, and then graded their in class exams from yesterday morning. Furthermore, I finished calculating all their grades for both the lit classes.

And then there's today: I have the take home final essay for the comp class coming in. I'm not even going to look at them until 9:30. And I feel quite confident that by about 1 pm, I will have everything graded, calculated, and uploaded. And I may have a plagiarizing student come in, but we'll see if Stu actually shows up.

I should note, too, that grades are not due until next Thursday. Yes, dear friends, I am a whole entire week ahead of schedule.

On Wednesday I also managed to write half a draft of my conference paper.

I should note, too, that I've also been drinking a lot of wine this week, eating dark chocolate, and lots of nighttime fruit (that is, fruit as dessert right before bed because my sugar cravings have been off.the.chart! It's like PMS after the fact, yo). I find that nothing motivates my grading more than not wanting to have to travel knowing that I still have to grade. I have to admit that I feel like I sorta cheat though by spending all of the last week of classes grading and having students turn stuff in early. And unless they are research essays, I am also spending very little time, like embarrassingly little time on the essays I have been getting. If these were upper division majors, yes, I'd spend time commenting on the essays because I'd pick them up a bit earlier so I can give them back. Unless it's something egregious or if the grade is close to the next grade up (because students get picky about "why is this an 69/79/89 and not a 70/80/90?"), I will briefly comment in order to avoid email conversations about this later. But right now, I scan first to make sure they did the assignment correctly and then I go back through and quickly read without commenting unless they've misunderstood something or are off the mark. I don't know. Maybe that's not fair. But shit, by the time the last of the comp essays come in, I will have read/graded 123 essays plus about 65 final exams this week. Whew.

And today I don't have to be on campus until 11:30. Yes!

So I let myself sleep in today. Or rather that was the plan, except my body woke me up at 5:15 anyway. But whatever. I lounged around in bed until about 5:55. I still feel good. I was asleep by about 9:45 last night, too. I will say this, the marathon week of grading has led to some deep, restful sleep.

So this morning I'm enjoying my coffee. I'm still going to work out, but I'm taking my time, enjoying the sunrise, just sort of relaxing. And as far as my grading is concerned, I should be done with everything, including having grades uploaded by about 1 pm today.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mixed bag.

A really nice thing just happened on my way to get my lunch from my husband: one of my colleagues who I'd consider friend (along with his wife)  more than colleague, just told me that I look really great and asked what I had been doing. He is the first person to notice that I've actually been losing weight. I was upset a couple of months ago because I thought after a few pounds and some inches that someone would say something and the husband said "don't you know that our friends won't notice that because our friends like you for many many other reasons than how you look?" Which was nice. And true. I mean, I get the point the husband was trying to make. But part of me is shallow and a bit vain. So this made my day. But I think it's because in the last two weeks I've lost almost five pounds, and this week, well I won't be able to tell because I have some monthly bloat weight that will keep the scale from accurately reflecting what it should. And I do feel confident that I've lost some weight this week because the scale has not jumped to the astronomical number on the scale it usually does. But we'll see what happens tomorrow for my "official" weigh in and measurements. After moving at such a snail's pace since January, consistent, but still slow as all get out, it's nice to see some progress and things headed in the right direction a little bit faster.

Plus, I think the tan I have right now helps, too.

Anyway, this was not supposed to  be about weight loss and such. Even though I only went over the take home final with the froshes today, I'm worn out by them. By my attendance policy, half the class should fail for their five absences. The take home final, which is my standard essay for the writing classes that requires them to evaluate their own performance and what they learned in the class and what they did to actively learn, and I told them that some of them were going to have  a REALLY hard time with this essay because of attendance, participation, lack of effort, and that they needed to keep in mind that the course objectives are achievable with effort on their part as well, so they needed to think about that. I said that there were about three of them who probably wouldn't have that difficult a time with it. I have a headache though thinking about having to grade them next week.

There were 8 Fs on this last batch of essays. Six were eligible for revisions because they were turned in on time. Do you know how many of the students with Fs showed up during my office hours for a revision conference? One. Just one. And ze turned that F into a B. Good for hir. Of all the students who could have and should have revised, four showed up. One of those revisions was barely a revision, so ze's grade didn't change. One of the four didn't turn in a revised draft. And that was exactly why I didn't have a conference sign up sheet for revisions. I figured I'd get a slew of students showing up for conferences and then not turning in drafts.

One stu in the lit class with 11 absences begged and pleaded with me not fail ze because ze absolutely!positively! CANNOT fail my class! What could ze do? Ze would do anything! Ze asked for a chance to prove the rest of the quarter that ze was deserving not to fail. Uh, yeah, there are two short stories left! My response: "You've had the entire quarter to prove to me that you want to pass this class. But you show up every day with nothing but your phone and you text the entire class period. So all you've shown me all quarter is that you do not give two $hits about this class. Two days ain't gonna prove otherwise."So stu then sent hir friend to my office to plead on hir behalf (although stu 2 said that stu 1 had no idea ze was there). "Stu's a great person! Stu's been going through a lot this quarter that ze didn't tell you about. I mean, is like 11 the cut off for absences?" I'm like, uh, you're a nice kid, but I'm not discussing another student with you. And FIVE, if you recheck the syllabus, is the cut-off for absences. Sheesh! I've never had a student send another student to try to talk me out of failing a student. Which makes me even less likely to do anything. If you're getting ready to graduate then you're probably at least 22, so be a fucking adult and make another plan and don't send your friends to my office to tell me what a "great person" you are.  I've failed as many "great people" as I've passed total assholes. It's nothing to do with who you are.

Anyway. It's annoying. It makes my head hurt. Oh well.

So at least this weekend we have some fun stuff planned. I'm going to make a nice dinner tonight. The husband and I will relax. I will spend tomorrow cleaning and reading/writing for this conference paper which is causing me no small amount of anxiety right now. I have no idea what I'm going to do for this at all. It also makes my head hurt.

In other news, to reiterate, I LOVE working out in the mornings before school. I love it. So at least I got that going for me right now.

I got the three revision essays graded. All the grades so far for all the classes calculated. I am kind of dreading the amount of grading that I will have next week, but maybe I can space it out enough and pace myself then it might not be so bad because that conference paper HAS.TO.GET.DONE. Because my research schedule for this quarter didn't happen. It needed to, but it didn't.

And I'm a little distressed now to see that the summer cap is EXACTLY the same as the regular quarter. The shortened summer quarter is capped at 25 freaking students. That seems wrong to me. Oy. I was really hoping it would be less than that. Fuck. Oh well. Nothing I can do about it. At least it's only six weeks. I need a nap now.

At least I'm pretty sure I can get everything from the other classes done next week before the freshman start turning stuff in, so that will be best if that's the final thing. At least by the time I get the take home finals, because they're worth 10%, it will be pretty easy to figure out which ones I don't need to grade at that point.

I'm so making a great dinner tonight and having some wine. I'm so doing that.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Some positive stuffs!

Today is day 18 of being GF, or at least if anything I've had has had traces of it in it, I'm unawares. I think I mentioned that days 10-13 were horrific, but I seem to be doing a bit better with it. However, I do get my sugar fix with wine and fruit, which you know, at least it's not pizza, cookies, ice cream, and the like. So I guess that's positive.

I have also managed to train myself to crave early morning exercise. Believe it or not. It's true. And now especially since I've redone my workout program, it's easier to do the workouts in the morning. Also, it's getting to be really really hot in the afternoons. My options were work out in the afternoons when it's really really freaking hot and be miserable, or dragging my bones out there before it becomes unbearable, and it turns out that by the time 6:15 rolls around, if I'm not out the door running, I start to get a little agitated. Plus, it feels soooooooooooo good to get home from campus and nap or read or do other things rather than work out. It has become much easier for me to maintain these first nine days of the month, doing it first thing. And there's such a sense of satisfaction knowing that it's done. I am starting to look forward to working out in the mornings. Even on the early days--TR--I can get at least 30-45 minutes in. It means I'm a little bit more tired in the afternoons, but it's so worth it. Most of the time I have a lot of energy with working out in the morning, but not always. However, since the last few weeks with the freshman have been rough, the morning workouts help with that stress, and when their classes are particularly tiring, I can just go home and crash rather than having to work out.

I've also been able to be more productive during my office hours the last few days, too. Today was sort of a bust, but at least two students showed up for revision meetings (I'm glad I got other things done M & T then), and then I had two other student meetings, a brief one with my boss, and another student who just wanted to chat, and one who forgot an assignment. So my office hours have actually be pretty busy this morning/noon.

In the past two days though I've
  • Graded 37 lit analyses.
  • Calculated the grades thus far for the lit classes.
  • Have the calculated grades updated in the spreadsheet for both lit classes.
  • Have 1/3 of the grades for the freshman class calculated and entered.
  • Tweaked the lit final for the spring quarter class. 
That's quite a bit! I'm actually quite tired now, and I still have one class left to teach, but at least I'm caught up with just about everything for now.

Tomorrow during my office hours one of two things will happen: I'll be able to finish calculating the freshman grades and get them entered and have time to work on the summer syllabus; or all the rest of the students who wish to revise and want to meet with me will appear in a line outside my door for their revision conferences. As most of them have quit reading and haven't shown up to class with books for the last three weeks or more, once my office hours are done, whoever is left is S.O.L.

Any bets on which of the two scenarios is most likely to happen? 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Resentment and Stuff

Even more so than the the fact that I *hate* to say it is the fact that I hate to *keep* saying it: I not only dislike the freshman class, but I also resent them deeply. I resent the fact that I still have two point five weeks left of teaching them. I resent that I have to see another round of crappy essays (most of them will be unless they pull something out of their a$$es for the final drafts, but most of them won't be able to give their performance in the last 7 weeks). I resent that even after the crappy final drafts, there's still a chance I will see them again, although I will reissue a strong word of caution regarding "editing" as "revision." I resent that even after this essay is still yet another essay and a take home final exam. I resent having to resent them because it saps my energy, makes my neck hurt, and makes me have a super short temper that then results in me unnecessarily yelling at my poor old girl for wanting to go on a walk. Yes, I just said that I resent this class for making me yell at and scare my dog.

In an act of rebellion then, which might not seem like an act of rebellion, I decided to just plow through the remaining three readings already this morning (including the one I'm teaching a couple hours) so that I don't have to think about for the rest of the week or this weekend or next week. During my office hours I will get their final essay topics typed out and uploaded as well as the take home final. So then with the exception of grading, I have nothing else to do this quarter in the three classes.

Still, this has been a great year for me. Despite this class and what it might sound like, I'm still very pollyanna-ishly happy here. Of course, the honeymoon is over, but it doesn't leave me with regret about the move to here. Yes, I wish I were paid through the summer so that I a) didn't have to teach to pay bills because I need a break and b) so that I didn't have to constantly worry throughout the year about saving to make sure that the summer bills are taken care of. However, I have hope that next year will be better because we should have the husband's GI Bill starting immediately fall quarter, so that will take a significant burden off. The only thing, aside from summer finances, that bothers me is that we don't have the money to save for summer bills AND try to get ourselves out of debt. That hangs over me like an anvil. Actually, it rests on my head because I constantly feel the pressure.

ETA: Not even half of the class turned in the assignment for today. And one of those was clearly done during the class period today rather than paying attention to the discussion and strategies for writing essay 4. Two of the argument worksheets look like the students spent less than one minute on it. Especially for those who are maybe struggling with the essay (those who turned in one paragraph), it was designed to basically force them to outline the paper and force them to think about specific examples to support the argument to get them closer to the draft they need for Friday. Only three of the seven put forth that kind of effort. And we've spent the last almost three weeks looking at arguments, breaking them down to show how they're supported, what NOT to do, what thesis statements are and how to write one, even crappy ones, tying all this back in to essay 1 & 2 to show them that what they have to do now is no different than what they had to do for the first two essays, and still, today, not only did not even half the class turn in the assignment, but I don't even think a third of them did. And all quarter has been this way. And only two people read today's assignment. And only two people actually had their books. And I gave them their next paper topics today so that those who do want to get a head start, no class on Friday won't be a total waste for them. Because if they're not reading and not bringing their books to class, is canceling class really going to matter? One kid does nothing but roll his eyelid up all class period. I'm serious. It's gross. I think the three or four who could benefit from a class period are also the three or four who will use Friday to get a head start on essay 4 and who are likely to bring me a draft in progress.

It's true, I hate myself for the fact that I've given up. And for the sake of the ones who are working, I am doing my best to keep the class interesting and helpful so they will be successful in 102. The ones who are failing are not failing because they're struggling. They all passed essay 1 with flying colors. Many of them were in the B range. They know how to write. They know how to revise because I saw in many cases, dramatic revisions between rough draft and final draft. And then did nothing for the next draft. Some literally so, like not even turning in Essay 2. Some turned the drafts in really late. I really just don't know what else to do. And this is what is frustrating is that of them was passed Essay 1. And then just stopped working. And I think this is at the heart of my resentment here and why I can't feel like I failed them because they each demonstrated in the beginning that they knew how to write and write well for that matter and that they understood, based on the initial draft, what it meant to revise the essay to make it stronger. I just, I don't know.