Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's All Fun and Games Until....

It's all fun and games until something has to be graded.

I love what I do.  I love my students, I love my campuses, I love my subject.  I even (mostly) love getting up and going to work in the morning.

Most days, I can't believe I actually get paid for hanging out in the coffee shop, talking with students about their ideas, as is the format of conference weeks, which just ended Monday.  Those days, its all lattes and literature and spirited conversation.  It's fun.

But, like an unfortunate amount of this world's frivolity, there's a looming dark side; mine was in the form of a virtual ream of paper sitting in the literal blackness of the bottom on my bag--under the table, out of sight, but not quite mind. Report papers, of varying length, content, and quality: all awaiting my undivided attention.

Have I mentioned that I hate grading?  How I despise ferreting out misplaced modifiers and AWOL thesis statements? How long and exhausting and generally disappointing it all is?

I had meant to stick with my tried and true "5 a day" format which gets my 45 papers done in a painless, timely manner.  Trouble was--as it has been for the past few rounds of papers--I haven't had the time or gumption to look at even a single paper on a given day in the past two plus weeks.  As the days passed, the pile became more uncomfortable to think about, more worrisome to ponder. Like a mob boss after a hit, I wanted to toss my bag of paper skeletons into the fresh cement of one of our many campus construction sites, but I knew I had nowhere to run.  Regular class resumes tomorrow and I move operations from the campus Starbucks back to class.  And the students are expecting their papers.  As of this writing 2/3 of the papers--2 out of my three classes-- have been evaluated.

The other class is going to be silenced with donut holes and coffee and mollified with an extension on their next paper: due Friday. Because I have to do something to stop the gushing flow of ink before I drown.

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