It's amazing how a person can teach for 11 years and only JUST figure out in her 11th year that, maybe, she should figure out 1) EXACTLY how much time it takes her, on average, to grade the assignments that she grades and 2) schedule it into her work week just like she schedules class time and office hours and meeting times, so that the time is accounted for and protected and separate from all other things. (And by "a person" I mean me, and by "amazing" I mean kind of shameful and stunning in its obviousness.)
|Patti Smith talk about writing in Hartford last weekend. So good.|
I imagine there are people who are kind of horrified at the idea of scheduling your days in increments and appointments but that's the nature of this gig, I think -- at least, if you're going to do this gig well enough to keep your sanity and not get fired. (And by gig I mean teaching higher-ed. Sheesh. Constantly qualifying. This week has drained me. Brain not quite working.)
Also, I'm sure there are people who do this kind of thing (teaching) and already factor grading into their schedule in a calm and methodical manner and have done so since the beginning of their careers. Those people are far more clever than me.
Anyway, this week I adopted one of the organizational/work efficiency methods I heard about on one of the dorky podcasts I've begun listening to, and it helped me FINALLY conquer at least one batch of papers. That was after I foolishly stayed up far too late, woke far too early, and nearly killed myself with a migraine . . . but at least something went right this week.
Actually, speaking of things going right and podcasts (dorky depending on whether or not you consider poetry and publishing the purview of nerds), for the next two weeks my work is featured on the Painted Bride Quarterly's Slush Pile podcast, where their editorial team records their discussions about work being considered for upcoming issues of the magazine. Yay! It's a completely frightening experience but also a humbling one. I listened to the podcast with trepidation; I mean, I know that ultimately more editors than not liked the poems because they accepted them -- but there was still a chance one or two of the editors wouldn't like them and I might not like the things they said about my work. It turned out that one of the editors really didn't like the word "stitches" appearing so much in the poems (they were chapters from my long fairy tale poem) but that doesn't bother me -- he raised good points and ultimately it's a difference in aesthetics, I think. And the other members of the editorial team gave me a lot to think about, too, in terms of the tale, how people read it, how they process the poem's images, etc. So ultimately it was a very satisfying experience -- one that I needed to pull me out of what was threatening to be a rather unattractive, too-prolonged funk.
Not that I have time right now to sink into a funk. If there's anything that's good about mid-semester madness, I suppose it's that I don't have much time to feel sorry for myself.