About 10 hours from now, we’ll be on a plane…
About 16.5 hours from now, we’ll be getting off said plane…
About 18 hours from now, we’ll be here.
Aside from the packing, life is good.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Lisa

Lisa, with Naomi, and Dina
She’s real! And she’s not secretly a spotty fourteen-year-old boy trying to meet mature women!
Dina and I met with Lisa, Paul and Jack for a lovely brunch on a very, very snowy day here in Montreal. The whole family is lovely, and Jack has the best baby hair ever.
Colin and Robert got to come too, since it’s a snow day! Whee!!
Thanks to modern technology, I was able not only to take this picture with my cel phone, but also to mail it from the phone to Flickr.
And let’s not forget that without modern technology, Dina and I would never have “met” Lisa at all. So three cheers for high tech!

Still chugging along…

Course number two put to bed. Grades submitted. Many, many essays read. Brain mush (that is, my brain is mush – not that the essays consisted of brain mush (only a very few of them were brain mushy)).
If nothing else, this post illustrates the effects of reading 36 essays about Canadian women writers.

I think I can, I think I can…

One down, three to go.
The bad news is that the class I have finished marking – marked all the finals, calculated all the grades, and submitted all the final marks for – is the smallest one, and the one for which the final essay was the shortest.
The good news is that it’s also the class I took over part way through the term, so there are students who never showed up, others who just stopped coming, and a few who were more than a little cavalier about completing assignments – which means that the class average is 59.5%… OK, that doesn’t sound like good news, but the good part is that it’s done.
It’s depressing to give a student a failing grade, even if, in one case, the student never came to class – literally – but simply didn’t know enough to drop the class.
The three remaining classes, although they all have more students and longer final papers, will be (for the most part) rewarding to mark. Most of the students put a good deal of effort and thought into their final papers, reviewing drafts and outlines with me, emailing me with new ideas, and in the case of my Detective Fiction course, even writing their own stories.
So tomorrow, when I’m hip-deep in papers, remind me that I’m happy about them now.

The life of a non-tenured teacher

The good news is that loads of students are asking which courses I am teaching next semester, because as one of them put it, “good English teachers are hard to find.”
The bad news is, the answer is no courses at all, unfortunately.
At this stage, I will be lucky to get a single continuing education course. Every winter, for a variety of reasons, college English departments have no choice but to offer significantly fewer courses than they do in the fall. So until I get tenure – which involves a number of retirements and/or unfortunate accidents – I am pretty much out in the cold come January.
Ah, well, at least I’ll be back next fall, for sure. And a few months off gives me a lot of time for planning unfortunate accidents next year’s courses.