"I'm getting all my ducks in a row," said my student, "but unfortunately some of them keep trying to fly off and a few of them are exploding."
I know the feeling. This is the time of the semester when Exploding Duck Syndrome reaches epidemic proportions on campus.
And it's not just students: between now and Dec. 20, I have to read, respond to, and/or grade 116 separate drafts/papers/projects/exams/presentations, plus a handful of bonus assignments a few people may decide to turn in. Make it an even 120. If I could grade 10 each day I'd be home free, but I can't do that because of the way the deadlines are staggered--and I have no control over the final exam schedule, so don't blame me.
Of course I did this to myself, as usual. It's hard to get around requiring final research projects at the end of the semester. If the project is supposed to represent the culmination of the student's learning over the course of the semester, then it can't really be due in the third week of classes. The right time for final projects is right now, and the right time for finals is next week, which adds up to a whole flock of exploding ducks.
But what am I complaining about? All I have to do is grade 'em; my students are the ones doing the hard work. Those taking multiple literature classes are typing their little fingers off this week, walking around with dark rings under their eyes and wondering whether they'll have a single coherent thought left in their brains by the end of next week. At that point we'll all congratulate ourselves on surviving the Exploding Duck Syndrome epidemic, even if it leaves us all feeling like birdbrains.