Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Generally Speaking: or, Why I've Not Posted Lately

I have been meaning to post more pictures of our wonderful new house, but I haven't because a) I couldn't find the box with the new batteries (and I didn't want to spend money on more), b) I've been savoring every moment of free time (and blogging hasn't felt savory to me lately), and c) I've been busy as all getout with the summer semester (and my students and their work have been monopolizing my time).

I've now entered the very last week of classes, which means my students are panicking--and that they are submitting revisions, galore, and wanting me to turn them around and grade them, like, pronto.

Two weeks ago, I spent an ENTIRE weekend grading over 50 essays, only to have approximately half of my students drop the course (due to poor grades) WITHOUT coming by to pick up their essays--with their abundant (and dare I say, rich) comments I had so labored over. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised; my students have never been shy about admitting that grades are more important to them than the mere satisfaction of learning. Still, I'm not ashamed to admit that it hurts my feelings to have put so much time and effort into providing useful feedback, only to have my feedback ignored.

Summer semesters are always tough. Not only do we have to accomplish so much work in so little time (writing --and for me, grading--five essays and at least one revision in just eight weeks), but the students who enroll in summer classes often do so for the wrong reasons. They are students who want to simply get freshman comp "out of the way." Or worse: they are students whose advisers have somehow managed to counsel them toward a degree, leaving this class until last. So, generally speaking, my summer students are weaker writers than those who take comp in the regular semester. And generally speaking, they are precisely the students who should not enroll in such a difficult class with so little time in which to learn so much.

So I have been having conferences like crazy, grading like crazy, and also working on the new freshman comp textbook like crazy. And guess how I feel?

Thankfully, the end is in sight. I can't wait for a real break--two weeks without work--but we have a trip planned that I am actually kind of dreading. I want to see everyone, and all (my parents, bro, sister-in-law, nephew, and all of my in-laws), but I want them all to come here. I feel as if I haven't had any time to simply "nest"--and nesting is all I want to do. Simon's boxes are all unpacked, and he's been dutifully working at getting us a security system, weeding the side yard, and attending the neighborhood association meetings, but I still have several boxes that need unpacking, one of which had better have in it my very favorite pair of teacher-ly jeans (the dark and wide-legged fancy kind). Sigh.

There have been interesting and wonderful moments over this past month, of course. We've had friends over to play cards and Cranium on the back porch. We watched the fireworks on the levee on the Fourth (and then just walked right down the hill to our home). We've cooked our first meal, watched our first movie, and read the paper every morning on the stools at our new island. We've met more neighbors (and received a bottle of holy water from one). Generally speaking, we've been loving life in our new home. I just want some time to really be in our new home before school begins all over again.

Anyways, I am posting largely because I just wanted to get a blip up on the screen that says: I'm alive. I'm well. And I haven't forgotten about this sloppy blog.

I hope to be able to post more regularly soon... Until then: back to grading!