Something I thought about:
- Mostly getting through to the end of term. This week was packed with deadlines and catching up, so I’ve been a perpetual motion machine. One thing I did notice is that I am consistent with students — I’m generous with extensions as long as students ask in advance and communicate — I don’t need explanations or confessions or anything — a simple “This piece isn’t where I want it to be — can I have an extra day or two?” is sufficient. And I do the same. Normally I turn around comments in a week. I contacted them Wednesday morning and said I had a deadline to meet and wouldn’t get work to them until Friday/Monday, and if they needed a specific piece earlier for a portfolio revision, to let me know and I’d turn it around quickly and work on the rest post-deadline. They were fine. I communicated with them the way I ask them to communicate with me. I think that’s important.
- Along similar lines, student portfolios are usually due on the last day of class, but every year there are a few students who ask if they can have an extension. This year I gave them a choice of two deadlines and let them decide — before the holidays or at the end of the first week of January? The flexibility seems to be helpful — they can manage their own deadlines and prioritize work based on final papers, projects, and exams in other classes. I just ask them to let me know when they will send their work so that I know they have a plan — otherwise it’s all the same to me. I don’t begin grading until the second week of January, so this is really about creating a situation in which they can do their best work.
Something I did:
- Hit a deadline.
- 7 student portfolio meetings and another student meeting.
- Caught up on grading.
- Caught up on a lot of (but not all) email.
- Taught the last workshop of the term.
Something I read:
- End of the year round-ups are all being released. I quite liked this set of poetry recommendations.
- 7 Contemporary Poets on Revision
- Maintenance and care are a big theme right now for obvious reasons. Here’s the final newsletter by Jonny Sun. I think part of care and maintenance means setting and accepting endings.
I suppose the lesson in caring for — and then not caring for — this plant, over multiple attempts and iterations, is that all the important things in your life need some form of consistent attention and energy and care from you, and no matter how much you try to make that recurring upkeep easier, you still need to be a part of that. And sometimes, I suppose, you may just not able to.
The editor I chose to work with said in our first meeting that she found it interesting that I was using the lenses we normally apply to understand humans to understand nonhuman animals [and asked]: What about the reverse? How can we understand ourselves in ways we might use to try to understand an animal population?