Professional Crastination

So there’s a pile of paper on my desk – no, make that several piles. Unsorted piles. There are essays awaiting comments, grammar exercises awaiting corrections, corrected texts awaiting marks, oral presentation summaries awaiting review, and one or two administrative memos awaiting ignoring. This is why, of course, I’m blogging.
The end of the semester is right around the corner, and I feel like I’ve taught my students nothing. Some of them may actually know less than they did in September.
My Intro course, which finishes in a month and a half, still has to get through the Scottish play AND the elements of poetry, not to mention figure out how to stop writing so many comma splices. My Canadian Women Writers course, if yesterday’s orals are any indication, may stretch into February – the guidelines clearly said 15 to 20 minutes, so two groups presenting yesterday should have taken maximum 40 minutes, right? (See, I can do math) Together, the two presentations took 90 minutes. 90! There are six more presentations. I may call in sick.
As for my Prep (ESL) group, well, some of them are actually doing really well – but others are still approaching college the way they did high school, but with fewer restrictions. I have to admit, as a group they are demonstrating some improvement, both in language skills and behaviour. It’s been a while since I left the classroom thinking “Now that’s exactly why I don’t teach secondary.” On the other hand, I confess I was a little dismayed to kind I’ve been given the Prep Plus course next semester – the class in which all my current Prep students end up if they can’t pass this semester’s class.
The good news is, my goldfish plant is blooming.

5 Replies to “Professional Crastination”

  1. Is it too late to post to this one? I hope not!
    I got as far as “comma splices” and to jump down here. In my first semester as a writing instructor at our local community college, trying to get sub-performance students to come up to college-level writing, I assigned a final-exam essay on the general topic of “What I learned in Writing 100”–with specific instructions to come up with a better title. Most didn’t bother.
    Anyway, despite my absolutely clear explanation of a comma splice, complete with examples and possible corrections, one student wrote that he had “learned to use a comma splice correctly.” The same student told me, in the essay, that he had learned about “conjugal verbs.” In a composition class??? Not mine! We had, of course, touched on conjugation of verbs, a foreign concept, not unlike the diagramming of sentences. Sigh.

  2. Never too late to post, especially when it’s to make me laugh out loud! (Dr. T wanted to know what was so funny. I told him “it’s about comma splices – do you really want to know?” Oddly, he declined…)
    Conjugal verbs!! That’s as good as the student who started his first body paragraph with “Firstival, …” I don’t even blink anymore when I read “we should of” – but I still cringe when I read “we were gonna.”
    Sigh – the leaders of tomorrow.

  3. Firstival: The first carnival of fall?
    In reading your post, I skipped right over “we should of,” showing that I, too, lost the ability to blink at it. Horrified I was when I first began teaching (student teaching at the dreaded secondary level, which tells you why I taught at the community college, instead) and read “should/would/could of” constructions. Then, a couple of years after completing my master’s degree, I re-read a paper I had written in my final semester. Imagine my color changes when I came across a “would of” of my own! And the professor had missed it, which speaks of her loss of blink.

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