Friday, September 14, 2018

Mixed feelings Friday

I was up late grading the last round of exams last night. Luckily, I was smart enough not to tally up scores or I REALLY would not have slept. (As it was, it tool me a while to fall asleep).

The range was from 28% to 95%. Strongly bimodal distribution with one mode below 60 and another one in the low 80s.

I don't know. I've already fielded several unhappy e-mails and I can see how in the Before Times when professors were not expected to be in Constant Contact with the students and also post grades right away (before handing back and going over the exams), things were probably better for the professors.

A lot of things from when I was a student were probably better for the professors and things are worse for us now. I'm just tired out.

Something someone said somewhere else made me feel low-level attacked, though I also realize it's largely me, and also maybe people not understanding (when they're at a research-heavy university) just how different it is to try to do research when you're at a teaching-heavy school.

Four classes in a semester is really one class more than what I can handle. I feel like I never get a break from it - grading, writing exams, keeping up with the material.

And yeah, the constant-contact thing gets to me. I had to send out the "monthly reports" (we are asked to report on the grades, attendance, and other stuff - like if someone seems to be having personal problems, and yes, that feels intrusive to me and I would only do it if I were really sure AND the person seemed to not be coping)  and I've been dealing with people who either have questions about that or disagree with the number of absences I have down for them*

(*Which feels to me like such a MINOR thing to be unhappy about. In three of my four classes attendance does not count towards the grade, it's merely a monitoring thing where I can go to the student unhappy about their grade, "Well, yeah, of course you're earning a 40%; you're here about 40% of the time and you're missing lots of important material so your exam scores are low." And to me, it feels like - forgive the vague political discursion here - but the campaign ad in heavy rotation on local tv, that essentially says "Shame on the Football Men for not standing up during the Anthem" and I am like "look at the world, this is the biggest problem you have right now?" Granted, I am a fan of the First Amendment and not particularly a fan of football and I think I said once before, "Yeah, the guys have the right to do this but their team owner also has the right to tell them to knock it off, so I don't really care what they do")

Anyway.

I think part of the feeling I feel so worn these days is that I do not really have anyone - outside of you lot, and while anonymous Internet readers are great and all, it's not quite the same as someone in-person - that I can unload to, but I get unloaded on a lot. And because I positioned myself in the past as the Strong Tough One, I can't quite figure out how to walk that back and also how to make myself take up more room in certain people's lives than maybe I'm entitled to....and I don't even feel like I can say a lot about what's going on to my mom, 'cos I know she's got a ton of stuff going on and trying to juggle keeping the house going and be at the rehab center for my dad, that's a lot.

But I do wish I could just sit down with someone with a cup of tea some afternoons and tell them about my day, and have them make sympathetic noises or give me a hug when I'm kind of overwhelmed.

I think one of the problems is that a lot of the people I interact with in a day seem to - or at least this is how I feel - seem not to recognize I'm human and I have my own challenges and issues and that maybe loading more trouble on to me is just going to further impair my abilities to cope graciously with it.

This morning, one of my biostats students came in for a little help. I felt bad because I had to send her out into the hall for 2 minutes while I sent some e-mails (that was when my e-mail was blowing up with people unhappy about grades), but I was able to help her after a brief moment, and it was a minor problem, and we were able to sort it.

And then she asked: "How is your dad doing?"

I had mentioned it one day in class when I was distracted and not doing well - I think that was back when he was still in the hospital.

And you know, dangit, even though I was able to tell her he was doing a lot better (in fact, they're talking about him getting home within a week to ten days), I wanted to cry in that moment.

Because someone saw me as a person instead of a "content creator" or instead of someone who graded too hard and was ruining their life or someone who needed to fill out all this paperwork now or anything.

It's been a very long couple of weeks and I'm tired. And I don't get to rest just yet - the interlibrary loan book is due back Monday so I guess I try to finish that this weekend, and I have a big article to re-read before a paper discussion, and 20-some (if I got all of them in) student proposals to read and grade, and tomorrow morning is given over to working with my research student and....

is it any wonder I get short-tempered with people who think it's "strange" I'm not willing to give away more of my time for things that won't really directly benefit me?

I have to go to the grocery (Wal-mart, because they're the only local purveyor of organic milk) in a bit and yes I hate going shopping on a Friday afternoon (Probably also a Payday Friday for those who get paid every 2 weeks), but I have no choice if I want milk or anything else fresh. (There is no grocery delivery or even "order on line and pick up" in my town)

I don't know. I'm also out of the Vitamin D I take and I better get more (which probably means a trip to Walgreen's, too, as I don't think Wal-mart has the kind I take) because I suspect my mood will suffer if I go a few days without it. (And I need more of the Mane N Tail "Hair, nails, and skin" vitamins I have been taking)

What I need to learn to be able to do is to (forgive the harsh word) half-ass stuff, because I have a way of letting work expand to fill ALL my time, so I spend hours on grading and the like, which is why I kind of dread these project proposals. I want to do well by my students but at the same time I feel kind of like I'm locked in an unsustainable system where I'm asked to do so much that even things like making time to do the laundry seems like a large effort.

I hope things get better soon.

1 comment:

Anj M said...

it sounds like a lot this week. and I am sure the less sleep you got last night didn't help.

I am willing to be a person who you can call if you ever want to. I mean we can both have a cup of tea and just talk for a few minutes if you want. No pressure.

so many things we do daily now are not things we used to do at all. no wonder our time is overtaken with so many things.