Friday, April 20, 2007

Where, oh where, has Wayfarer gone…

It’s been exactly a month since this blog has been updated, and for that I’m profoundly sorry. I hope you haven’t all just said, “F*&# it” and moved on. I’ll get around to everyone in time to let you know on your own blogs that I have not died or moved on to MySpace (I just can’t bring myself to set up shop there), but for the time being just know that things are well.

April has turned out to kick my ass! Teaching issues began the month. This is the time of year when students begin to come to the realization that they might not earn credit for courses, and when parents start to demand conferences and considerations from teachers in an effort to save their children from their own consequences. Please understand that I don’t begrudge parents this right. I think it’s important for children to know that parents will come to their aid even when they’ve made bad choices, but it is really irritating when they put blame on teachers for their children’s negligence.

My administrator is very good about defending the performance of her teachers, but I never take that for granted. I have learned to keep good records, so that I can adequately demonstrate exactly how a student is doing (or not) in my course. It is nevertheless a time consuming endeavor to go back and uncover all the notes, documentation, samples and communication on a student’s performance because the parents hope that, if they say I haven’t done my job right, perhaps the school will cut their kid some slack. I had to do this twice this month, and I am tired from it.

Right on the heels of this came midterm reports, which I should put into context. Eight times a year, my school produces narrative reports for students. Four of these are only for students who are in danger of not earning credit (we call them warnings); the other four are midterm and end-of-semester reports. Those of you who do letter grades with codes should appreciate just how little time it takes to do the task of reporting grades. It takes much longer to do narratives. I actually cheat a little because I have an Excel spreadsheet hooked to my grades that generates a basic narrative based on how students are doing, and this cuts the time *I* spend on reporting down by more than half. Even so, warnings routinely take me 4 to 5 hours and the major reporting takes more than 10 hours to do. Add to that the task of catching up your grading, so you have the most up-to-date information available, and you’ve added several more hours of time to the process. It’s emotionally draining.

Now we’re in the middle of Exhibition season, and my students are writing their 5-page papers. I’ve been getting drafts in from them and, as always, they require a SIGNIFICANT amount of revision. My 9th graders write for absolute crap! I have 65 of these to review in the next two weeks, marking revisions as I go so they can resubmit by mid May. I’m grateful that my TA, Dana, is around to help me with this, but again, it’s more tedium and time away from things I would rather be doing, like blogging.

Finally, there’s my thesis. I’m a little more than halfway through the writing of it (Wifeness is reviewing the first part now), and I’ve made good progress on the second part of it this week while I’ve been on vacation. I’ll need to dedicate more time over the next month to get it out the door, but I’ve managed to work through the research obstacles now, and so it’s just down to actually putting it all down on paper.

So, does that explain where I’ve been? Again, I’m sorry for not keeping up with blogging, but somewhere along the line something had to give. Still, it’s not very nice to just disappear like that, so I’ll commit to leaving word when I’ll be going on hiatus again, if I have to.


mrschili said...

Welcome back! I understand busy - and you don't have to be OCD and post every day like I do - but a little "HEY! I'm not dead... yet!" post would have been nice. I'm just sayin' for future reference.

At least the sun's out again! I know that I can deal much better with the "hectic" that comes this time of year when the weather is at least halfway decent..

Wayfarer said...

Yeah, it just sort of got away from me. I don't think I even realized it until about a week ago that THREE WEEKS had gone by. ACK!

I'm with you on the relationship between weather and stress management.

cloudy, rainy and cold = cranky, withdrawn and stressed.

sunny and warm = feeling much better, thank you!

stay-at-home mommy said...

I third the weather directly affecting the mood theory. (Actually, not really a theory - it's fact!). It's cold and dreary around here these days.

Glad to hear you're still alive and kicking!! Makes me not want to get my after degree in Ed though...

Wayfarer said...

I'm sure the whole M.Ed thing isn't as bad for everyone. I'm an overachiever, and I'm doing this work for a particular purpose (Wifeness and I are starting a school soon, and this work is directly relevant to what we intend to do). Most people I know, even those with little kids, do alright with a little adjusting to the routine.

Fran said...

Glad your back! Lent and Easter kicked my ass, so I've been pretty quiet, too.

My friend Neely just told me I was a kick ass editor - do you need a grammarian for your thesis, or is Suzanne taking that on? I'm glad to help.

Auntie Fran