Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I Had A Clever Title, But I Forgot It, For I Am Tired

It is...yes. It is underway. The semester, she's rolling. Good lord. I'm tired.

Yeah, definitely not into the work schedule yet. Tomorrow we'll have been in class for a week (minus Monday, of course). So seriously. Four days? That's all I've done so far?

I am overwhelmed, friends. I'm not exactly behind yet--just teetering on the brink. How did this happen? I was so organized! so ahead of things!

At the risk of being boring, I shall give you the quick run-down of my semester:

Five classes. I'm teaching five classes (= 4 preps, and one of them only meets for 50 minutes/week, but still). So far they're all going really well, especially the senior-level majors-only seminar, which is awesome and on a topic that I love and only has 8 students in it. Comp is even going well (although we've only met twice) (remind me to tell you about the Mystic Binder one of these days). And the survey is fine, although I'm not particularly interested in it; I loved this class last year, but now? Kinda done with it. Also I'm in a terrible, terrible, feng shui-violating florescent nightmare of a basement classroom, and I hate it. The one-hour class just started today, but I think that it'll be fun and pretty lightweight. At least, that's the plan. So the classes are fine, just frequent and tiring and never-ending. The prep, the prep! It is always undone!

Advising. I've never advised before. It's not too bad, yet, only I was handed several of WriterBoy's old advisees (he's gone on to greener pastures) and a few of them have some real scheduling problems. Like, graduating seniors who haven't fulfilled the lab science requirement. Not sure what to do about that, frankly. Yikes.

Honors. As I've said, I'm directing the Honors program now. What this means at this point is that I need to meet with every one of the incoming Honors students to go over the program's requirements. This isn't horrendously taxing or anything, but it does require me to stay on top of my calendar, which used to be my strong suit, until I started teaching and the organized part of my brain fell out of my left ear.

Extra teaching. One student who needs the senior majors' class can't come to the class, for reasons too complex and detailed to describe, so I need to meet with hir every week in the afternoons and also devise a different grading rubric that matches what ze will actually be doing.

Organizations. I recalled, today, that I'm the faculty sponsor for a student organization, and I need to get on top of determining new members' eligibility and also corralling the members into meeting and whatnot. Resolved: I will not take over the student organization. Which I kinda did last year.

College-wide. We're doing this whole curriculum reform-type thing this year which requires lots of extra meetings, as well as assignments between meetings. There was some stuff that I was really supposed to review before tomorrow's meeting, but you know? I didn't, and it's unlikely that I will. Oh well. Nobody else did, either. (Except the Minister, for he is good.)

Is that all? I think that that's all.

It won't be too bad once I get into the rhythm (I hope?), but right now it's like this series of flashes of panic: Oh! Wait! I had to do --! and what about --? Have I emailed --? What classes do I have tomorrow? What time is it? Good God! What have I done?

Only 15 weeks to go! Seriously, does anybody else have a 16-week semester? Wisely, however, I have scheduled almost no readings for the week and a half after Thanksgiving. Hurrah!


Hilaire said...

OMG, my friend, that's kooky! I thought *I* felt overwhelmed, but you...you are dealing with so much!! Wow. If organization is usually your strong suit, then I'm sure that gene will kick in soon, and get you through.

A shot in the arm to you!

Sisyphus said...

Oog, good luck and I hope everything stabilizes soon!

And sometimes I envy the semester setup, esp. in fall, where the quarter starts late and is all messed up by thanksgiving and halloween and all the stupid holidays. Then I remember teaching comp on a 16-week schedule and how much we all hated each other by week 8 and I shut up with the complaining already.


Dr. Crazy said...

I feel your pain on the 16 weeks business. It's times like these when I wish I were teaching at a private college in the northeast, where unaccountably they believe a semester is a full month shorter.

That said, you have a LOT on your plate. Good for you for not preparing for that meeting. And seriously: this business with the students who are to graduate who've been foisted upon you? You might think about having your chair deal with the really tough cases. Take help where you can get it, and ASK for help. Because dude: you are really booked this semester. And that's coming from me, who thought she was really booked before she read this post :)

heu mihi said...

Okay, now, Hilaire, you do NOT get to tell me that I'm dealing with more than yo, because that is so CLEARLY false.

But boy, you guys sure did affirm me! Now that I see where public whining will get me, I'll have to do it more often. (As if I didn't do it often enough on this blog already....)

Update on the advisees: Looks like most of them will be all right; it was a case--or a series of cases, actually--of them having made arrangements with the registrar/their old advisor that weren't recorded in their files. Still have one who needs a lab science, but perhaps there's something I'm overlooking. I hope?

Belle said...

We can but hope. I too am on a 16 week schedule, two weeks in and so tired I can't get to sleep at night. Tired isn't in it. Our lists are remarkably similar too; reading yours makes me more tired. Gee, thanks.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Remind me not to complain about my workload. Okay, maybe for this month, but after that.... yeesh. 5 classes.

Bardiac said...


I can only give you this one bit of hope: it gets easier. You get the preps down and have a bigger repertoire of stuff you've taught, you learn the advising system and what works for you, and you learn to say "no" to students who "need" an independent study because of poor planning.

But for now, keep your head above water and the semester will, inevitably, come to an end. Good luck with everything!!

ortho said...

Wow, you sound busy! Good luck!