Friday, September 09, 2016

"Weekin' for the workend"

or: "I'm gonna say, Alex, 'If The Drew Carey Show were set in academia, what would its theme song be?'"

Yeah. This is going to be one of those "fake" weekends for me. Saturday will be a trip out for groceries (to the local Mart of Wal, don't have time for anything better) followed by coming in here to catch up on stuff. Sunday I will be in the pulpit and I am trying to stuff down the terror over that by reminding myself I kinda sorta did it once before and the Earth didn't fall off its axis or anything. (But if you hear of a big earthquake Sunday morning somewhere in South Central Oklahoma, you'll know what happened)

I'm also just TIRED. I think it's allergies, though it could also be Too Much Human Interaction Of The Kind I Don't Like. (and Not Enough Of The Kind I Do).

I'm as antihistamined as possible without blowing out my liver or causing terrible side effects, but still I'm sneezing and my tolerance for human foolishness is low.

And I've been having those stupid exhausting dreams again, the kind where my brain does stuff like:

"Hey, let's create a dystopian future and explore that!"
"Imagine what it would be like if one of your loved ones suddenly died!"
"What would it feel like to try pulling through a railroad crossing while the crossbucks were down and you could see a train in the distance?"

Yeah. I don't "gaze into the abyss" or whatever it's called much during my waking life so my brain does it for me when I'm asleep.

(I had a dream the other night that incorporated items 1 and 3, more or less: I dreamed it was the day after the election and I was out doing fieldwork, but on the way to the field site, I couldn't get ANY news that reported who won on the radio. At first I thought, "Meh, maybe not all the precincts are in and they want to be sure" but as time wore on it became increasingly clear there were Reasons they weren't telling us how the election came out. And there was an interval where I was standing in something like very viscous mud and contemplating the spent shotgun shells sitting on top of it (one of the field sites I use regularly allows hunting in the fall, so shotgun shells are not all that weird) and then driving back to town in a hurry (after the news got really dire on the radio) and suddenly I couldn't see properly while driving (which is another feature that happens in my dreams) and finally I found myself weaving between the arms of the crossing gate on railroad tracks as a train was in the distance but near enough to be concerning." (FWIW: this dream happened BEFORE the news yesterday of an Amtrak train in Dallas hitting a truck, so that news didn't influence the dream, though things I randomly hear during the day often do).

I'm also tired because I submitted quarter-semester (this is a thing now) grades for one of my classes. And as is the tendency, got two e-mails this morning, both accusing me of trying to murder their college career a-borning because I gave them a low grade. (Oh, honey. No. I didn't give you a low grade. You gave yourself a low grade. Look at the score you earned on the first test). One person accused me of calculating wrong and I explained it again. The other accused me of penalizing them for not having done the homework, but again, they earned a lower grade on the test (likely because they had not done the homework).

Rarely do I get people - despite my first day lecture/plea about not getting left behind and fixing stuff when it's still fixable - coming in or e-mailing me and going, "Wow, I was so not prepared for that first exam. Is there something you can do to help me prepare better for the next one?" Instead, it's accusations that I can't add right, or I have it in for them, or that the grade posted is wrong because xyz and it just makes me so TIRED. (This is why a lot of profs hate teaching intro classes, and the ones with more seniority/more sense of entitlement at bigger schools just refuse to. We are small and also I don't have enough sense of entitlement to fill a thimble, so I am teaching two sections of one. Oh, I like the teaching itself okay, and I like many of the students, but when you get a couple of people who complain how everything is unfair to them and how the world is against them it's just EXHAUSTING. As in anything, it's that 5% or so of humanity that have problems and issues so out of proportion that it takes all your attention and taints your impression of the rest of humanity)

I dunno. One of the things that makes me tired about being a prof is that students do stuff I would never have had the chutzpah (I was gonna say "intestinal fortitude," but I think that has too positive a connotation) when I was a student. Or they ask for stuff - I think I commented on here several years ago about the student who came to me two hours after taking an exam, asking for a retake. When I looked at them in utter gobsmackery, they explained, "I was just off my game this morning, you know?" Apparently the deal at some high schools is that you get retakes, and it's the exact same test. Which....I dunno. I get that life sometimes has mulligans, but I don't remember ever being offered that easy of one myself*. (I did get a SORT of do-over in the grad school arena: asked to leave the first program, though now I suspect that wasn't entirely my fault, applied to, was accepted into a second one, and was successful there. But that took a certain amount of effort on my part and I had to start over from scratch....)

(*Then again, I am viewing it through the lens of how I'd act: if I did poorly on a test and got wind that I'd get a redo, I would IMMEDIATELY go back and start studying the exact topics I knew I messed up on. Maybe not everyone is like that?)

Anyway: Morale is low this morning and is unlikely to get pulled up right away.

No comments: