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NaBloPoMo 3

4 November, 2011

Right — so here’s my little bit of a post:

Did not finish everything. Did not get to bed at hour mandated by physician.  Realized that one of the reasons I might be even more  behind than usual is that there has been so much people time this semester, in the sense of packed classes and also in the sense of meetings and massive numbers of emails, plus a lot of one-on-one student meetings. Plus, my teaching style requires that students engage and discuss, but even though there are 15 or more students per class, there is seldom a session where I can facilitate, rather than “ask questions to make sure they get key points, and then ask more and more leading questions to move them towards the key points, because they’ve not only not learnt the material, they haven’t really thought about it enough to be able to say things like, “that guy who supported that other group,” or, “that woman who ruled from behind a screen.” Hours and hours of that kind of interaction in a row without any time to process at all leaves me completely exhausted and both physically and mentally drained. I schedule space between classes for a reason, and currently the way people’s schedules impinge upon mine is taking its toll.

SO …Another Damned Writing Group’s post will be up tomorrow afternoon

7 Comments leave one →
  1. 4 November, 2011 6:01 am

    I’m off to the beach for the weekend. If I can post to the writing group, I will. I’ll be back Monday, though and will definitely post then if it’s still open for posting. This is my first whole weekend of doing not-much-work in longer than I can remember. I’m only taking 3 review books with me! And I may not even read them!

  2. 4 November, 2011 4:26 pm

    The way you describe your classes would make me deliver a come-to-Jesus talk about actually prepping so that one can discuss, & then dismissing them (in visible disgust) to go and do their reading, with the threat of quizzes every class if they keep being unprepared. Sometimes it’s not you, it’s them.

    • 4 November, 2011 4:46 pm

      I’m inclined to agree with that. You can only carry them so far. Your current workload as described makes me wince; I’m doing more hours’ teaching this term than I’ve ever had but you remind me that I should really be able to cope with a lot more.

    • 4 November, 2011 6:45 pm

      Normally, I’d agree. But one of the things I’m seeing is that the students don’t really know what I mean by “be prepared for class”. There are some things I need to crack down on — for example, they are supposed to bring particular things with them, and some haven’t. But I started my semester on the wrong foot, what with medical tests, absences, etc., and so never got to set *that* part of the tone. In terms of general “prepare by reading and thinking about the material and being able to talk about it”, though, they simply haven’t been taught.

      today I actually asked the students in a seminar why they were still unable to answer questions on a particular thing, when I’d asked them to re-read it. And, in fact, what was going on that they seemed unable to get a grip on the material. One said that it would have been helpful to have had an outline of events, etc. That’s not actually my job, but I do recall that my Doktorvater did have handouts for his UD courses on Rome, with a list of key concepts and administrative/legal structures. So maybe when teaching certain things, it’s worth doing.

  3. J Liedl permalink
    4 November, 2011 9:50 pm


    This week was not a stellar week for me: in large part due to a persistent sick headache that made it impossible to read anything for more than ten or fifteen minutes at a time. Awfully hard to mark or even write when you can’t read.

    About people time? Oh, man. I know this. I nearly cried when a senior colleague asked for my input on something. It’s a smart request on her part: I have expertise that she doesn’t, but does it have to be right now when all the students and all the other stuff are sapping my time? (Sadly, it does, and so I make the time because it is important.)

    I figure that when the end of term comes, I will crash but good. I hope that you’re planning to go some place, even if it’s just to your own house and closing the door on the outside world, so you can rest up when it’s the end of term!

  4. Susan permalink
    5 November, 2011 12:42 am

    My colleagues and I have been realizing that the reasons our students don’t recall stuff is that they see an article or book as a set of facts, not as an argument. So they don’t have mental file folders to organize the ideas, and then they forget it as soon as they read it. So I know what you mean about your students doing work but it not showing, rather than just blowing off the class.

    I know what you mean about people time, and I find when I’ve had lots of meetings in a day I am just fried — I come home, pour a glass of wine, and talk to the cats.

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