i feel like a car whose transmission is shot--i feel stuck in one gear for too long, as opposed to being the shifting beast that i normally am.
(i understand why. i, however, still don't love it.)
today i spent the vast majority of my day managing student issues. granted, it was my office hours day, but i remember days of yore when no one would ever come to my office hours and it was hours of uninterrupted time to get things done. i do not begrudge students who come to office hours (even though it seems like i am); i am actually especially happy when students are coming in early, before their assignments are due, in order to make sure that they are meeting the expectations of the assignment. given the fact that i am, apparently, intimidating and often off-putting (or have been in the past) to my public speaking students, i am so pleased to see that students feel like they can email me and are taking me up on my offers of support.
on a pedagogical level, it means that they are invested and that they feel like i am invested in them. it means that i am doing what i am supposed to do. on a purely pragmatic level, after getting my evaluation today that mentioned the superlow evaluation scores compared to the rest of the department, this must mean that my students feel comfortable enough to come and speak to me, to seek me out, and that must mean that they will be kind(er) in their evals.
i can only hope so, though i am beginning to feel like maybe my time with that department is ending. it's great money, but i'm not sure they're going to keep me around forever. maybe that's just paranoia, but maybe it's not a bad thing. we'll be taken care of, no matter what. who knows. we'll see.
speaking of that eval, how is it just totally typical me that instead of seeing the GLOWING way in which my boss described my lecture and class, i focus on the elements that are very clearly just there to document what has happened in the past few months. even when discussing the things that i have messed up on, there's a heap of positive feedback.
but what does crazy me feel? defensive.
but anyway, back to my point. i spend huge chunks of my day answering student emails and responding to student mistakes. especially in my online teaching world, it seems like NO ONE FOLLOWS DIRECTIONS. it's not that difficult, is it, to send something to the online receptacle for papers instead of emailing them, right? especially when it explicitly details that on the syllabus? it's not that difficult to submit things using the correct, universal filetype rather than whatever you have, even if it means an extra step, right? especially when i forgive the first few times you don't, and remind you to do it correctly? when i email and post announcements and jump through HOOPS GALORE?
apparently it is. because i spend WAY too much time on this nonsense.
i also spend a lot of time worrying about the fact that some students have 0% commitment to their classes. part of me is like "i am a zombie. i have NO desire to deal with this nonsense, so if you have no commitment to this class, i have no commitment to you."
that's not my nature. i worry about students who never come to class, who show up to class 45 minutes late (but with mcdonald's iced coffee, by the way) as a routine, who don't seem to be engaged or invested.
i just do. but all of this management, all of this administration--it takes so much of my time that i feel like i don't have the kind of time to devote to prepping and grading and getting ahead. it worries me, it really does.
we're something like 1/4 of the way through the semester. i'm hoping i find my way, that i find a way to balance and a way to deal with this fragmented brain. it's like i'm thinking of 100 things at once but can't commit my full energy to any one of them for fear i'll lose touch with something else that i have to worry about--it's exhausting and very different.
i'd like to be able to switch gears much more effectively. it would make the road a lot easier to travel.