Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Railing, gnashing, anguish

I can't do it. I can't.

Yes, I'm being melodramatic. There have been (my favorite word:) histrionics (just a little). But oh, do you ever come to a point where you look at the papers sitting in a shiny tidy pile and think, I can't? I mean, you can't even imagine yourself grading them. It's like back in the early '00s when I was in a bad relationship, living with the guy, and I tried to imagine my future with him (marriage, kids) and I couldn't see myself; I saw some other person who was only kind of like me. That's when I knew we had to break up. It's like that. I need to break up with my papers.

I've read a few, and readers, they are not good. No! What happened? Their mid-term papers were better than this. I don't understand. It's clear that many of these students (in the survey) have no idea what a literature paper looks like. And part of that is my fault--if I have a smaller section next year, I'll build in some more writing instruction--but not all of it. They should be able to write more than six pages without packing in the blatant fluff.

And as I said, their mid-terms were better. In fairness, maybe they looked at their blank computer screens, and thought, like me, I can't.

So we're all caught in this sinister merry-go-round of impossible, reluctant activity breeding more impossible, reluctant activity. I will hand back the papers--eventually--ideally before the final exam--and they will look at the first pages, and contemplate turning to the back to see their grades, and think, I can't.


undine said...

But if you break up with the papers, they'll turn into stalkers: "What did I do? Was it something I said? Can't you give me another chance?"

heu mihi said...

What a terrifying idea. And I'm not sure that a restraining order exists that would keep them away.

ortho said...

Not only will the papers turn into stalkers, like undine suggests, but so will the paper writers. They will ask, in every class, "When will we get our papers back?" When you utter an explanation or an excuse, the writers will mutter, "what a slacker." Or at least in my experience, that's how the writers often respond. Ugh.

Sisyphus said...

Ah, the circle of life ---- the wailing, teeth-gnashing, avoidance life, that is.

PS my cat just jumped on the keyboard --- he must want to say hi!

P said...

Just keep reminding yourself that it's almost May, which means it's almost summer, which means you will have moved on from this relationship!

Dr. Virago said...

Oy, do I know how you feel. I've felt this way all semester and I particularly feel it right now. That's why I'm finally catching up on blogs. (Btw, belated congrats on the book deal. I think I congratulated on the engagement on FB, but if not, congrats on that, too!)

I cannot wait until this semester is over. See you at Kzoo!