Saturday, February 10, 2018

a working Saturday

So, thus far, I have

read 23 student papers (one person is still out sick, and I thought they were e-mailing me their paper, which makes me worry they were sicker than they thought - last communication I had was they were on their way to the doctor) and wrote comments all over them. I still have to assign grades, that is next.

wrote the ecology exam for next week, that can be my gateway task Monday morning (typing it - I write exams longhand and then edit them as I type them up). It is good to have a "gateway task" that is easy to ease you into working for the day.

Researched background material for, and wrote a v. rough draft of the "B" level ecology exam for the Science Olympiad. And while I was working on it, I realized why I dislike this task so much. And it really doesn't have much to do with resentment over "I am giving up x hours that I won't be paid or even really thanked for, and which may not be enough to raise my service scores" but it's that I hate uncertainty.

This is a group of students I have never met before. I don't know how they were taught and only have a rough idea of what they were taught, and so I have NO idea how to "pitch" the test. I am fearful of making it far, far too easy and having people see it as a "joke" and also being stuck with multiple ties and having to tie-break them (I will have to write four or five really hard questions as tiebreakers, I guess). Or, I am afraid of making it way too hard and having people be frustrated.

There is an example exam from last year on the website but (a) I KNOW the students will have seen it, so I will have to write substantially different questions and (b) some of the topics (specifically, what biomes were studied) are different.

The other challenge is they want it to be an easy exam to grade. And I get that: I don't know if I'll even HAVE helpers and I dread that I will maybe have 80 tests to grade all by myself, and have an hour in which to do it, so my typical inclination for something like this (write an essay exam) has to be tamped down and I have to do as much matching and multiple choice as I can. EXCEPT we are asked not to do "too basic" (e.g. definition-of-terms) questions, and I have a hard time writing tough multiple choice questions like that. I suppose I can comb through my old exams (sigh, which will take more time) for my ecology class and find some appropriate questions and plug them in, but....

it's just worrying I'm not doing a "good enough" job, especially in the face of feeling like I have little guidance, that bugs me. My perfectionism is competing with my obsessive need to have everything planned out and to know the "rules" and I think this is why I get such a mental block on this.

I'm just deeply terrified I am doing this totally wrong and will either be stuck with tests I can't get graded in the time I have, or tests where everyone gets a 100%, or a situation where the students complain because they could only answer three of the questions on the test.

And this feels so much like so much of adulthood to me: "Here, do this task for which you have minimal preparation and virtually no guidance, and don't you DARE screw it up."

Anyway. I also probably have to find the energy to do the research-reading that keeps getting pushed aside by "urgent" things.

It doesn't help that I'm having cramps, but I don't think I better take another dose of tylenol until bedtime. (I know, I know: I'm staying waaaaaaaay under what's even considered half the normal dose for a day, but still I worry, I'm already on enough meds that can muck up my liver)

Church is cancelled for tomorrow (Ice, especially given the minister has a long drive in) so at least if I get the work done today I can have all of Sunday to myself.

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