I used to lust after the lovely art major in my undergrad days. As a TA I lusted (but didn't touch) that beautiful tennis player in my intro section. As a tt professor I lusted after a man I met at a fundraiser (and got him.) Now I lust after the IDEA that a student will look up MLA documentation instead of asking me about it!
I am miserable because on the day I had a film scheduled, I got sick anyway and my SUB got to sit in a cool quiet room while my students took notes.
I'm miserable because I have students who are already asking me for their grades when they just turned in their papers Thursday. I'm also miserable because I have to have an 8 page paper done tomorrow. It's currently sitting at 3.5 pages. Obviously, their essays aren't going to get touched until this weekend at the earliest.
WHAAAAAAAAA! I assigned one reading to my students and then prepared discussion questions on a handout for a DIFFERENT reading...I must now PUNT.
I am grading a WHAAAvalanche of student design work. Some are so crappy that they require a page of typewritten explanations from me, articulating where exactly they went wrong. ("You think those elements contrast? Ugh, not at all!") It's boring and repetitive and gives me a headache.I hate being so busy that all I can really do is lurk here! I'd rather draw funny pictures and make y'all laugh. But somehow, I will survive.
I am not tired, frustrated, stressed or sick today. For the first time in three weeks, I'm being productive. This new state of being confuses me and I gave my worst lecture of the year this morning.
I work in a financial aid office. We have a certain student who slipped through our English language requirement admissions policy. Students who have been in a US high school for 2 years don't have to take the TOEFL or any ESL courses before being accepted, but this one apparently managed to attend a Virginia high school for two years without developing functional English skills. Her parents do not speak any English at all.She and her parents are permanent residents, meaning they qualify for federal parent and student loans. I am miserable because I have spent HOURS on the phone with this girl and her parents trying to make sure they understand enough of the loan regulations/disclaimers that I can approve their student loans and have some reasonable hope that I'm not helping them to permanently destroy their financial lives.
Last spring's problem student (who is in his mid 30s) has returned to haunt us again. This time he's complaining about his computer teacher, who I hope to god really does throw him out of class. She said she wanted their name on the bottom of their paper, and he stood up in front of everyone after asking "Where" eight or nine times to point to various parts of the bottom of the paper on the screen in front of the room. He's too old to really be this way, but he wants everything spoonfed to him and gets angry and ridiculous and treats you like you are stupid if you won't do it. Then, when it doesn't work because he won't study, he turns around and blames you for it. Fun fun fun.
I'm miserable because, for the last couple of days, my chronic illness has been affecting my ability to think clearly - and even to stay awake throughout the day. I've been re-reading paragraphs in books over and over, trying to get them straight in my head, and trying not to drift off into an impromptu six-hour nap.
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So I'm leaving a tenured position; it all came down as a result of Mr Terrible TA. Mr Terrible informed me during the frantic checkout period of a lab that he had to leave to attend sports practice, this a full half hour before the lab was to end. I was in the middle of reviewing the lab with students, and all I could do was bluster, "OK, but this isn't going to be a regular thing, is it?"Fast-forward to the following week, when, 5 min before the start of lab, I attempted to explain to Mr Terrible that I needed help making sure that students were actually writing in their lab notebooks, and not just putting down random calculations and charts without context. Mr Terrible replied that no other professor had required that of him. I expressed surprise about this, and his reaction was, verbatim, "I am insulted!" Seriously, like he was about to throw down a gauntlet and challenge me to a duel.Not knowing how to respond to that, I expressed concern that maybe he didn't want to be a TA (not meant as a threat, but a serious concern) given his lack of cooperation and his eagerness to leave for sports practice.Fast forward again: Mr Terrible sends a scathing e-mail to the dept chair and lab coordinator accusing me of apparently awful things (I was not allowed to view the e-mail or face my accuser). The dept chair and lab coordinator cornered me in an impromptu private meeting to discuss the matter. I tried explaining my view, but the common response was, "We don't wan't to make this he-said, he-said. But here's what HE said."Discussion further swirled around fear of lawsuits, CYA, etc. All I wanted was for Mr Terrible to make sure that students were putting something into their lab notebooks in accord with the lab design and policy. So, to hell with it. I, like we all do, have had to deal with diminishing standards and student freak outs that are somehow all our fault (remind me to tell you about Ms Ambien who loudly volunteered to the class the list of prescription medications she was abusing). My wife is gainfully employed, and tenured as well, and I want to spend more time with my kid, hopefully guiding him on a path where he won't be like Mr Terrible or Ms Ambien.
This is a big f-you to my student who CANNOT USE the Pearson thing. Honey, short of my sitting in your dorm room moving your fingers while you type, I can't help you any more.
Frizz...this kind of tale is becoming more and more common. It's the FIRST complainer who gets all the grease. I've seen similar events at my own institution. The person who bitches the first and the loudest often gets his/her target nuked because everyone's afraid of an actual dialogue or conflict resolution...
I'm annoyed at the two student emails I received last night after 7:30PM. Both were requests to read rough drafts of papers due today at 9AM. On what planet would someone make comments and suggestions a mere 13 hours before a paper is due. Even if I did it you wouldn't have long enough take my comments to heart and fix the issues!Frizz, that totally sucks! If you really are going to quit (and wouldn't we all love the feeling of power over our own destiny), you should insist that the chair tell you exactly what the student said so that "I may actually utter those words to him. If I'm going to leave over a student's claims I at least want them to be truthful claims. So please help me make a truthteller of him."
Thanks for the responses -- to follow up: this decision was not made lightly. The miseries of teaching a Small Liberal Arts U have been eroding my health for over a decade, and I've been weighing the decision for the past year. Mr Terrible is only a straw to the camel's back of my tenure.
I'm being paper-cut to death by a torrent of small miseries, too many to list here, so I'll summerize (yes, I know I spelled that incorrectly; I'm just ready for summer already):Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuckkkkkkk!That helped. Thanks.
A big whaaa to my former student - and a model to boot - who is spending a study semester in Jamaica (don't ask) and called yesterday at midnight to tell me that hur SO wouldn't be around, so would I like to fly down for the weekend.One more year for tenure...
My misery is that I'm not as cool as Bob Dylan:Most people are excited when they meet the President of the United States. Bob Dylan is not like most people. The iconic singer-songwriter lived up to his enigmatic image back in February when he visited the White House -- and didn't say a word to President Obama, the president told Rolling Stone magazine. "That's how you want Bob Dylan, right?," Obama said. "You don't want him to be all cheesin' and grinnin' with you. You want him to be a little skeptical about the whole enterprise. So that was a real treat."He wouldn't come to the rehearsal," Obama told Rolling Stone. "Usually, all these guys are practicing before the set in the evening. He didn't want to take a picture with me; usually all the talent is dying to take a picture with me and Michelle before the show, but he didn't show up to that." "He came in and played The Times They Are A-Changin,' a beautiful rendition," Obama continued. "The guy is so steeped in this stuff that he can just come up with some new arrangement, and the song sounds completely different. Finishes the song, steps off the stage -- I'm sitting right in the front row -- comes up, shakes my hand, sort of tips his head, gives me just a little grin, and then leaves." "And that was it," Obama said. "Then he left."
Let's see... a pile of student papers, my own dissertation to write, rejected grant proposal, too little money, etc.
All of my misery is currently not the work kind. Don't worry, I'm sure the students won't let that stand. I love the new job. The boss rocks my calculator...er...socks; he actually listened to my ideas on how to make the Math lab run smoother. The students have been surprisingly patient with me as I rearrange everything to suit my desires and needs. It will likely change in the next few weeks...the quarter has barely begun. Unfortunately, there is plenty of misery outside the workplace, but this is not the forum for that.
FrizzTwicky - I know you're leaving anyway, but you need to hire a lawyer and hold these assholes to ransom. Make them beg you to leave with a massive buyout. You can do it. You should do it. You can let your lawyer handle the stress involved, and you can get on with raising your kid and never set foot on campus again. (Initially "stress leave because of student libel", progressing to "buyout".)
My misery is learning that my students continue to baffle me by lacking the ability to read instructions. On the first day they are told to read through the learning modules because there is IMPORTANT information in there. So what do they do? And they wonder why I refuse to tell them where the review sheet is for this week's exam.
I'm miserable because I have just been told I have to take an attendance register in every. effing. class. even for the amsters students. What happened to being adults???
@The Cynical Optimist...People keep asking me if I notice whether or not my students at Second String State U are different from my students at Big State U. The answer is that reading directions seems more challenging for students at Second String, but it's plenty difficult for the ones at BSU, too. I secretly long to give one of those exams that reads "READ THE WHOLE EXAM BEFORE YOU BEGIN" and that ends with "Before you write anything on this exam, fold it in half, write "Battle of Hastings 1066" on the outside, and hand it to your instructor to receive full credit."I want to do that soooo badly.
My miseries are grad students complaining about too much reading (they haven't SEEN a lot of reading!) and... two articles that need serious editing.
I should be grading or something, but honestly, I just downloaded all of this season of Britain's Next Top Model, and have lost myself in it today.
Atop my nonacademic miseries, there are the gradflakes asking for recommendations, signatures, and so on TOMORROW! No, YESTERDAY! Because THE DEADLINE! I JUST FOUND OUT!Read yer damned e-mail from the department, I say.
I actually had an ok day and discovered that my 8:15 AM meeting is called off and so I don't want to strangle anyone currently, but I have to say that this open whine-comments thread IS A BRILLIANT IDEA. Can we do this weekly?
I'm tired of writing references. And I was going to change textbooks for next term but the assignments are due tomorrow and it's too late now. And I have two committee meetings tomorrow. Also, WAAAAAAHHH.
[Well, I'm already imbibing from the bottle of bourbon, but ... ]I'm despairing over the fact that we are approaching midterm and the tone of the class has already started changing but will take a serious turn in the next two weeks after their first paper and midterm exams. They have:> pushed the "electronics won't be prohibited until they become a problem" policy; > become as difficult to engage as an audience in a third tier comedy club well past the two drink minimum;> ignored repeated pleas to be marginally aware of current events;> not asked anything but the most cursory questions about the pending first major writing assignment.So ... I know that in the past few weeks I went from being a potentially to marginally interesting professor. In the next couple weeks, I will become an actively evil source of blinding heat which threatens to melt snowflakes into oblivion so must be eliminated proactively.Could set my watch (calender) by it ...
I've got a one week window to write a grant application before other tasks that can't be ignored overtake me. I'm pretty sure that I'm drawing a blank on what hypotheses to propose that sound cool enough that I'm going to get funding for the next few years. I'm hoping that this intellectual bankruptcy is very temporary, and hopefully disappears before I run out of time to quickly write something up that is halfway decent.
My students are currently reeling from a recent IT edict that coordinates their email, Blackboard, and scheduling software passwords.Many of them cannot access Bb or their email. Not to mention the online quizzes and assignements I have carfully posted in a timely fashion. The only method to resolve this is apparently to call the euphemistically titled "help desk" for assistance.I got home tonight to find my SO, an adjunct, had eaten lunch with one of the very cheesed off IT staff, who informed him that they had everything in place to make this change over the summer, so it would be a done deal for the fall, but the outgoing administration wouldn't authorize the expenditure...
Just ground my way through 90 midterms, with the Red Pen of Death bleeding profusely on the exams. The one snowflake that I have - the one who I let in to one of my sections weeks into term - this snowflake earned itself a nice, lovely D. Maybe the side conversations during lecture review were not such an awesome idea, now were they... especially when they make the instructor want to read you the riot act in his best Voice of the Almighty Lord style.snarkywombat out.
Purchasing canceled our order, on a whim, project delayed.I wish the graduate students who are training to become professional listeners could pass a test in "Simon Says". I wish the undergraduates would stop screaming profanity at their TAs...and scream at me instead. I could use the catharsis of excessive vocabulary unloaded on the illiterate entitled. I wish the TAs would record these tirades so I could play them in class. Sometimes I wish CM posters were nicer to each other.
I'm miserable because I handed in an essay on Thursday and still don't have my mark. I emailed the prof for my mark on Friday, then on Saturday, then again today at 9:00am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12pm, 12:15pm...I have yet to receive a *single* reply. Some people are just that rude I guess.
Today I took the ultimate cop-out. I did a model of every problem on a quiz 10 minutes before passing out the quiz. I thought I had idiot-proofed the quiz. Just in case, I made sure everyone had a fresh diaper just before starting. I gave them almost a third of a class meeting to work on it. Some of them still turned in crap. It was no better than if I had just been a hardass. Why do I do this? I don't do it all the time, but I do it about once a semester. I decide I'm too difficult and dumb something down, and it's just as bad as if I asked them what I really wanted to ask in the first place. Thank god for my one (and sadly only) jr. level class.
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