It all happened on the first of December:
I collected the last set of student drafts for the fall semester, many of which were pretty good so I shouldn't complain, but after responding to all of them I'm retiring the sentence suggesting that they please go back and read the prompt again. Until next semester, anyway. I've run out of ways to re-explain the assignment and now it's up to them to see what they can do with it.
I browbeat my classes into completing their end-of-semester course feedback surveys, driving the response rate above 50 percent for the first time in ages. I don't know how useful their feedback will be since I may not be teaching any of these classes again before I retire, but we are under orders from the Provost's office to increase response rates and so I comply. Will students who feel forced to respond be more cranky in their comments? I guess I'll find out when I get a chance to read them in January. (Not that it matters. I mean, literally nothing is at stake.)
I finished off a very long day by attending a musical play written by a talented student and produced entirely by students. It was great to see so much energy up on stage, and the music was engaging. My favorite bit involved a clueless character saying he was "speaking semaphorically," and when another character asked whether he meant "metaphorically," he paused and said, "No?"
But sandwiched between the play and all the drafts and classes was a celebration of four faculty members who have published books this semester. The books have been in process for varying amounts of time and it's just a coincidence that they all came out so recently, but at a small college like ours, having one faculty member publish a book would be a pretty big deal. Four at once is unheard of. So the Provost's office feted us in the library with cake and coffee (and hot cocoa!), and we mingled and chatted and celebrated success among a congenial group of colleagues and family members. We haven't had much occasion for public celebration in the past few years, so any opportunity to cheer each other on feels terrific.
If so much cheer can happen on the first day of December, what other joys might the season provide?