|These teens need smothering grandma hugs.|
Holey moley. This semester is whomping the H-E-double hockey sticks out of me. My skin is flaking off in papery white sheets. My “teacher’s neck” is now “teacher’s neck, shoulders, upper back, and aching arse.” I’m living on coffee, vitamins, and Medifast bars. My La-Z-Girl is permanently molded to the shape of my drooling, napping form, like the inside of a giant, bizarre, Styrofoam packing crate. Ray spooks around the house trying not to make the air ripple.
I’m not sure why this semester is so much worse than EVER. BEFORE. EVER., but I have my theories...
|These toddlers need new superhero costumes.|
1. Brain drain. I just had the 2nd anniversary of my brainsplosion, and I’m still challenged by a few lingering “deficits,” as neurologists like to call them, that haven’t quite disappeared (deficits that are not at all conducive to the nature of teaching): 1) I can’t process as quickly as I could pre-BS (Bastard Stroke); b) I can’t multitask as efficiently now, so I sometimes “lose track” of things that need doing until deadlines are about to swallow me whole; IV) I have some short-term memory glitches, and while I make numerous lists, I don’t always remember that I’ve made them or where I’ve put them; and 6) my brain, my own tangled Grey Gardens, is absolutely no good after, say, 3 p.m. without a re-boot (nap), and definitely shuts down completely by 7-ish – this is tough if you have piles of papers to grade, which you couldn't grade during the day if you wanted to (see #2 below).
2. The “business model” of higher ed. When I started teaching (back in the day…barefoot through a blizzard…only a boiled egg for lunch…blahblahblah), I had a 1-page syllabus, I planned lessons, and I went to class and taught. Period. My students were better thinkers, writers, speakers, and readers by the time the semester ended, because I CARED about their learning and had time to be innovative, creative, attentive and PRESENT. Now, I have an 8-page syllabus full of policies and procedures, I have to know/monitor/manage a host of on-line “tools” for quantifying, assessing, and reporting, I’m always behind, and I’m always bleary-eyed and exhausted. And in the name of all that is holy, don’t get me started on ongoing gender struggles for female faculty, or the annual faculty evaluation process. It’s impossible to get everything done unless I forego frivolities like eating, laundry, cleaning my house, showering, or speaking to my family.
|These budding performers need a manager.|
|It's only temporary...it's only temporary...|
3. Pining after my kids & grandkids. I have the most adorable, genius, fun progeny on the planet. I want to hang with them, maybe instigate The Great Silly String Fiasco of 2014.
This semester is so bad, that I've had to jettison anything extraneous – travel, shopping, gym, fun with family & friends, knitting, reading, home & yard care, anything that smacks of a “personal life” – just to keep my head slightly below the surface of the water. And I have 50 research papers coming in Tuesday, so if you don’t see or hear from me by Thanksgiving, airdrop a life preserver, deodorant and a roast turkey.