Monday, September 28, 2015

Eyes on the prize, nose to the grindstone

When sore eyes prompt me to raise my head from piles of grading to stare blankly into space, I see a shimmery vision materializing at the end of the week: a silver van with a red canoe strapped on top waiting for me to get in and drive off to a cabin in the woods in Pennsylvania where we'll spend my four-day break with family on and near the water. Getting from here to there, though, will take some doing.

Four committee meetings, one promising to last several hours, are the least of the hurdles standing in my way. Today and tomorrow I'm holding individual conferences with all my Sports Literature students plus a few other first-year students whose recent paper grades offered a wake-up call. I have to lead my capstone students through the next stage of their research and lead my honors students through a chunk of the Civil War plus grade their presentations.

Essay exam in my composition class on Wednesday--and I don't want to take a pile of grading to the cabin in the woods so I'll be grading between meetings all day Thursday. A set of quizzes in one class and a homework assignment in another--if I grade papers in the middle of a meeting, will anyone notice?

Cleaning the van (not my job, thankfully). Packing the van full of clothes, fishing gear, camera, kitchenware, linens, and other essentials--definitely my job. Strapping up the canoe--a joint effort. Then at noon Friday, after a full morning of teaching, grading, and teaching again, I'll take my place in the passenger's seat and settle in for a long drive to a rustic place lacking cell-phone coverage, internet access, and television--not to mention committee meetings, campus drama, and grading. At this point in the semester, that sounds like heaven.

But first I've got to get there.

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