Wednesday, October 10, 2007
a little bit tired, a little bit cranky
not that I think you're waiting with bated breath or anything, but I want to apologize that there will not be a shoe posting this week. That would require the energy to 1. choose a pair; 2. photograph them; 3. think of something descriptive and lively to say about them.
Today is week 6 of the 13-week term, and it seems to be the week that reality is really hitting us, on both sides of the lectern. In Canada, we've just come off a 3-day weekend for Thanksgiving, and the bump in rhythm seems to have made it tougher to resume working. My first-year students are all looking a bit shell-shocked, having just received back the kinds of marks that finally convince them that high school and university might truly have different standards. Yesterday and today, I've had to give the poor dears back the essays they wrote in class last week. Having spent the weekend marking those 55+ papers, I now have to field the numerous puzzled and wounded queries about why I didn't like what they wrote. I find myself repeating such verities as "sentence errors will cost you marks -- visit the Writing Centre," and "while your feelings and beliefs do have an intrinsic value in various contexts, they do not count as convincing evidence in an academic essay," and "follow the instructions -- if you didn't include a title, didn't include the summary you were asked for, and didn't have a recognizable thesis statement, chances are good your mark will be lower than a C," etc. etc. Also repeating things like "No, I will not let you revise your paper for a better mark -- revisions should be done BEFORE you hand a paper in" -- refer to your course outline where this policy is clearly stated.
Can you tell I'm getting crankier? And more tired? It's 6:15 p.m. right now and I'm going to make myself a grilled cheese sandwich and eat it while watching an Angel DVD (for those of you not in the know, Angel is a series developed around a character from the Buffy series). I'm currently re-watching Season 1, not a season I'm keen on, but it's starting to pick up a bit now, and it feels like a reward after a tough day. Plus I don't want to think about the one last next-term course for which I have to get a book order in this week or sooner!
But I shouldn't end on a cranky note, so here are some photos I took yesterday morning of a magical October sunrise -- they don't really capture, unfortunately, how soft yet intense the colours were of sunrise pink and early-morning-water grey blurred gently by the rain.