Friday, April 25, 2014

Changing my schedule

For most of this week - and I think maybe for next week too - I changed my schedule a little bit. It's apparently Spring Allergy Season II here (there was an early one, then a lull, and now it's back again and bad).

Getting out of bed at 4:30 am as I had been doing is painful. Also, it's been incredibly humid (dewpoints up in the low 60s), which my lungs really hate and also my joints hate as well.

So instead of dragging out of bed so early, I've been trying to schedule time in the afternoons to work out. Not an entire hour; my goal is to try to work up to doing less time per day but more days per week (I had been at about 3x per week for a while with the mornings). So far it's going okay but that means it's harder to work in the other things I need to do. Except I really feel like I need that extra hour or so of sleep.

I don't know that I'm going to get a workout in today, but that's okay, because I plan to mow the lawn tomorrow and that will count. Because I think I need to do some "big" (i.e., in Sherman) grocery shopping; I'm running low on a few of the Kroger branded products I use regularly. (I like Kroger's organic line - and in fact, have told people, both the local managers and written to corporate - because many of their organic canned goods, without trumpeting LOW SODIUM are low enough in sodium I can use them. And they're good quality). I'd rather go today than tomorrow; I prefer having my entire weekend day open (and I need to mow the lawn, and I need to write my finals....)

But today, I think I need to go out and do something different. I've been dealing all week with the standard, "I know there's only one exam and the final left but I really want to earn an A (or, in some cases, a C), is there anything I can do" which just makes me feel all kinds of helpless. No, there isn't anything you can do. I know you are trying to ask for extra credit without asking explicitly for extra credit because I say in my syllabus I don't give extra credit. But really - "Is there anything I can do" immediately makes me think of "change up how you study, or study longer, or take better notes" and the time to do that is after earning a less-than-desirable grade on the FIRST exam, not the FOURTH.

And I've had people coming out of the woodwork with sad stories about things. (I did turn down the late paper. It is in my syllabus that I don't accept late work, I did the same with another paper earlier although it was later. But mainly, I decided I wanted to set a precedent of GET IT IN ON TIME because the students' lab books are due next week, on the last possible day I can get them in and still grade them before finals, and I really don't want someone calling me up all teary about not having it done and begging me and then saying "But I heard you accepted a late paper from X." And you know, as much as I rage about "zero tolerance policies" and think they allow for stupidity,  one thing they do have in their favor is you don't have to do nearly as much explaining as to why mercy may have been shown in one situation and not in this one, and you don't run so much of a risk of being called up by an administrator and told you WILL accept this assignment late because you once accepted a lesser one late from another person, and "we don't want to look like we're playing favorites, do we?")

There's also an ongoing discussion on one of the Ravelry boards about how many school districts are pushing for a "hand it in whenever" policy, or a "you can hand stuff in as late as you want with minimal penalty policy" and that just makes me crazy, because already I'm getting a lot of students who don't seem to have the discipline of working to a deadline. And I don't quite see how a "hand it in whenever" would work with deadlines for instructors getting grades in, because "hand it in whenever" is going to quickly spiral down to "everything gets handed in on the last day of the marking period" and there is no way on God's green earth you can intelligently and carefully grade an entire marking period's (or worse, college semester's) work in one or two days. You CAN'T.

I've explained to students that my deadline policy is because I'm busy and I budget time for grading, and I make due dates for days when I know I can put aside time to grade. In fact, in a few cases I've even made brief blanket extensions on small things (like labs) if the students were struggling to finish, by justifying it with, "I won't have time to grade these tonight so you can get them to me by the end of the day tomorrow." I don't know. Maybe that muddies the waters too much and people only hear it as "she is flexible on deadlines" and maybe I just need to be totally hardnosed. But it seems to me that there are nuances: I can accept a lab assignment that takes me five minutes to grade at an odd time, but a large paper that is going to require maybe 20-30 minutes of attention, I need that when I have the time to grade it.

Also, the whole no-deadlines thing: I don't know of any workplaces where there are not deadlines. I have deadlines. Why not help kids get the discipline of doing things on time early on in their life? I mean, they say that kids learn music more readily if they start at a young age, and a second language comes more easily if started at a young age - why not disciplines like being on time with stuff? I know that's how my parents did it; it wasn't draconian or harsh and it didn't crush my spirit. I'd think it would be harder to learn, all of a sudden, at 25 that "Oh my gosh, due on Wednesday means I lose my job if I don't get it in on Wednesday" than to have, from childhood, the expectation of getting stuff done on time.

1 comment:

purlewe said...

random crazy idea.

a dehumidifier in your bedroom? or some air purifier? I say this only b'c if the dewpoint is so high making it harder to breath and get good sleep, perhaps a dehumidifier is the way to go to be a better nite's sleep.