Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tuesday morning things

* Mostly cleaned the lab room. This required an early-morning wal-mart run to get:
- dustpan (I stepped on, and broke, the existing one, a while back, after SOMEONE left it where it was not supposed to be)
- rubber gloves for washing the lab glassware (the lab gloves are too thin)

Normally, I do dishes bare-handed, but with my torn-up (from the Cone-tainers) and bandaided hands, I didn't want to soak the bandaids and have to replace them multiple times, and I didn't want to get the bacterial soup that muddy water would be in my cuts.

Also, I didn't want to have to replace my band-aid. I buy cartoon-themed ones now, on the grounds that the "flesh" tone pretty much matches no one's flesh (it's a little dark for mine), so if you're going to be wearing an obvious bandage, wear a fun one.

The newest set I got are "Inside Out" (the movie) bandages. I have a Sadness bandage wrapped around my most-damaged finger, and I didn't want to replace it because (a) bandages are hard to find in my building (budget cuts mean we re-stock the first aid kits out of our own pockets, which feels wrong) and (b) any bandage I could find would be a cheaper crummier brand than the Band-Aid brand ones I bought for myself.

And also I want to keep the Sadness bandage on, instead of a plain blah bandage.

Wal-mart is still depressing at 7 am. It's not depressing AND annoying like it is at 3 pm, but it's still depressing. Doubly so because the entrance I normally use was closed (they are resurfacing the parking lot bit by bit and chose this morning to resurface that bit) and I had to go in a strange door, which messed up my mental GPS. (And wal-mart has the irritating habit of moving products around randomly so NOTHING you buy infrequently is ever where you remember it as having been.

* I managed to crochet a bit more (even with a wounded index finger) on Spitfire's body last night. Not sure I will get anything done tonight; it's Elders' meeting and Board Meeting. (I already feel tired. I anticipate I will be in for the night by 8:30 pm, which, when you're out running errands at 7 am, feels kind of sad).

Tomorrow night is Maundy Thursday services, but at least I get Good Friday off.

* Two more full weeks of class, and then finals. It seems weird - the semester, while in the middle of it, seems never-ending, but it also seems to have gone by fast.

And this summer I am not teaching. I need badly to be efficient and get a lot done: prep my new class, refresh an existing class (new textbook), and do research. I am tentatively telling myself I can have one full day off every week where I do not need to do any work (other than, maybe, going to water the plants in an experiment, if it comes to that). I want to do some more deep-cleaning on the house - parts I've ignored. I want to clean up my bedroom well enough (mostly decluttering) to get someone in to replace the ceiling fan (finally).

I want to work on quilts and also re-organize my sewing room and maybe sort my fabrics and donate some of the less-loved pieces or things I bought and then my taste changed.

It will be interesting having a more-relaxed schedule for the summer. A lot of the stress I deal with is external - that student who e-mails you with a Big Problem that wouldn't have been nearly so Big if they had let you know when it first cropped up, or the people hounding you to grade their exam right after they finished it so they know how they did.

I hate to say it but I think this spring I did hit a bit of compassion fatigue - got to the point where it was hard for me to keep smiling and encouraging people. Part of it is I have someone who continually apologizes for being "a pain," but circumstances of their life (some of which I think their actions exacerbate) make them continue to be, in fact, "a pain" (as in: needing lots of accommodations, makeups, is always running late, etc. etc.) And, I don't know: apologizing for something but making no effort to change doesn't exactly buy you goodwill in my book. Either just own that you're a pain and stop trying to placate me about it, or shape up and try to stop being one. I don't know.

I try very hard NOT to be "a pain," to the point of sometimes putting myself out a little. I try to be sympathetic to the fact that not everyone has it as easy as I do, but...I'm hitting a wall on this one.

Hopefully a summer off from that sort of thing will allow me to recover. Really the hardest part of my job is the people-wrangling aspect: sometimes having to manage people's feelings, having to be an endless well of sympathy at times, cheerleading people who are down when I know very well I have no one to cheerlead me. (A lot of my frustration comes, I think, from my feeling that things aren't very reciprocal. I acknowledge this is partly my own fault: I have a hard time asking for help and support when I need it, and now I'm at the point of having positioned myself as "the strong loner" for so long that when I start to falter, I CAN'T ask people for help, or the response I get is "Oh, I know you, you're so tough! You'll be FINE!" and I kind of recite "Not Waving but Drowning" a little in my head....)

* There is also the stress of "juggling" - trying to balance teaching prep, service, research, writing exams, grading, life-maintenance like the laundry, etc. Work really does expand to fill the time: I confess to leaning heavily on an old (several semesters old) exam for the exam I have to give tomorrow because I just had NO TIME - I got the exam "written" (mostly cribbed from an exam I gave before the students-I-have-now's time here) in about a half-hour Monday afternoon.

That saved my bacon because otherwise my schedule would have shifted to --> write exam and grade on Tuesday afternoon ---> Break down experiment Friday ---> get less time to recuperate this weekend

And yeah, that's a risk I'm taking: that someone has access to an old "exam file" that has my old exams in it (I know they are out there). Then again, in other classes when I've done it, I've found the average has not gone up ANY, so either the exam files don't actually exist, or people don't use them.

(There were "official" exam files - as in, blank "old" exams that faculty donated - in the dorm library when I lived in the dorm. I KNOW there are "unofficial" files out there and also paper files (as in, papers people can copy) but....I reach the point of not wanting to be Plagiarism Cop all the time, and on some things, where it would take real detective work, to shrug and go "it's their soul," or perhaps more temporally, "It's their job if they're caught lacking knowledge they should have" but I don't know)

* I don't know if I work more/harder than some people, or if I'm just worse at juggling, but it does seem like every time I get out from what I need to do a little, something else crops up. I have the labs to grade from my AWOL TA (and yes, I'm still slightly bitter about that - NOT ONLY am I the last lab of the week and therefore struggling with the tag-ends of reagents that are left, NOT ONLY am I the one who the other faculty point at when "why isn't the lab prep room cleaner," but now I also get stuck teaching alone and grading labs alone. And no: it's not my duty to clean the lab prep room, other than by virtue of the fact that it's the last lab. I have been agitating for a rota of "who cleans up the lab room ALL SEMESTER and no one has gone for it. Maybe next time I do this, I MAKE the rota and tell people if they don't want to clean some given week, they can trade with someone or bribe someone, because I'm sick of it being on me)

No comments: