Thursday, May 16, 2013

This Week's Big Thirsty: If It Feels Like a Rerun, It's Because It's a Question Always Worth Asking.

Q: What did you fuck up this past semester? How are you going to fix it in the future? Do we have to come and spank you for it?


  1. It's possible I never told my gen-ed class that my grade thresholds are lower than most in the school. it's possible several students simply gave up because they thought it was hopeless (instead of simply terrible).

  2. It's possible I never told my gen-ed class that my grade thresholds are lower than most in the school. it's possible several students simply gave up because they thought it was hopeless (instead of simply terrible).

  3. I'm still grading, hours before final grades are due. Maybe I need to pull all-nighters sooner? Or get more students to drop sooner (my students, unlike Three Sigma's, tend to be overly optimistic)? I've already tried arguing that my teaching load is too heavy (and pointing to standards set by several disciplinary associations to support said argument); that tends to result in receiving tips and tricks for faster grading from people who teach very different courses and/or a very different load. Such suggestions are meant well, I realize, but they tend to suffer from the same problem as early time-motion studies in factories: for mental as well as physical labor, the pace a human being can keep up for 30 minutes, or even a few hours, is not necessarily the same pace (s)he can maintain all day, every day, for days and weeks on end. The whining/bargaining/trying to convince me to let them do what they already know how to do is also exhausting, and the degree of exhaustion increases geometrically, not additively, with the number of students.

    Okay, so this seems to be my complaining/being snowflakey day, not my taking-responsibility day. I promise to be more grownup and reflective once I've gotten the grades in, and gotten some sleep.

  4. What did I fuck up this semester? According to my incompetent Dean, I fucked up the department schedule for the fall. I doesn't matter that it's pretty much the same schedule as it has been for the past 5 falls, less a few sections, and it's only been the last couple of years that the fall schedule has been fucked up at some point in the process, oddly enough coinciding with our Dean's tenure with us.

    How am I going to fix it in the future? While it's going to be a little extra work upfront, I'm going to create three versions of the schedule file. The first will be mine, which I find more efficient to work within than the file that needs to be sent to the Scheduling Office. The second will be the aforementioned Scheduling Office version. For whatever reason, the Scheduling Matron can't translate from my version to her database entry version. The third will be an extremely simple Dean's version. I figure crayon should suffice.

    Do you need to come and spank me for it? Well, you don't NEED to, but if you want to send Darla, I'm for it.

  5. I didn't keep up with collecting Assessment data. This means I have to either (a) make it up or (b) comb through the leaning pile of papers (at least six reams) next to my desk and generate the appropriate BS.

    The super-special bonus? I write the program assessment report.

    The extra-super-special treat? Our Assessment Outcomes are really only judged ('meta'-assessed as I like to think of it) for the clarity of reporting. And, I sit on this committee.

    Will I fix this in the future? Mmmmmmm. The smell of burning paper.

    So, I am not even done fucking this stuff up yet.

    Should I be spanked? Only if it is part of my scotch-drinking celebration for the end of the year. And, only if you give me a safe word.

  6. I was healthy and competent once again, thus enabling me to pick up extra work from those who weren't.

  7. I called an administrator a petty, mean-spirited jerk. Oh wait, that wasn't a fuck-up.

  8. I handed back mid-terms without recording the grades. Again.

  9. I spent most of the semester fighting an administrative procedure and tracking long-drawn-out job applications, neglecting my research. (In fact, I'm writing at an airport, on my way to an interview.) I did win, twice even, but it's a pyrrhic victory: the provost has final say, and I made him/her look stupid (not terribly hard.)

    (Oh yeah, teaching? That went okay: they all passed, the grads like me, the u-grads not particularly, the usual.)

    How will I fix it in the future? Until I get another job, ignore administrators; let them say/do what they want, it's not worth my time. When I do get out, I'll drag Bumfuck U's reputation into the mud so deeply, they'll never hire anyone worth their salt again.

  10. I failed to fully explain my generosity to my students, which caused them to think they were being shafted.

    That won't happen again.

  11. I failed, once again, to get an entire class to demand I enter a comedy contest somewhere. Even my "A" material only gets light guffaws. I'm never going to get an HBO special at this rate.