Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ah, laziness...

Something can definitely be said for laziness. I turned in my grades last week, showed up for a book discussion at the bookstore, celebrated Mother's Day with my mom and large family, and today is the last of my "obligations"--college graduation. I find this to be a big bore--four hours of pomp and circumstance, 45 minutes trying to get out of a packed parking lot, and another 45 minutes driving home. I should get back home around 10 or 11pm. Yuck! I'm happy for the people graduating, but the boredom of it all almost makes me comatose before I get to it.

I haven't spent much time at the bookstore in the last two weeks, for which, I hate to say, I am grateful. I've been sitting in the backyard watching the hummingbirds chase each other around; I have two pair of Cardinals, Mockingbirds and a ton of Blue Jays to entertain me. Not to mention, my new neighbor's dog, Sampson, a tiny Pomeranian, who barks himself hoarse over my cats (and they just love to tease him). Poor Sammy! He's going to choke himself trying to get to the kittys. Hopefully, my neighbor will get her fence up soon so Sammy can run himself ragged chasing the cats up and down the yard.

I planted some squash and cucumbers, rather late and, perhaps, in a too-shady spot. But, if the bugs or birds don't get the seeds, maybe something will grow. I finally planted the Tarragon my friend Walter gave me. And I've managed to mow the yard twice! The Mayhaws are going great guns, so maybe I'll be able to make some jelly later in the summer or in early fall.

I haven't exactly been lazy, but I finally have the time to do some of the things I want to do. I have a stack of books waiting for me--I really want to tackle Seven Types of Ambiguity by Elliot Perlman--and I need to write more. My writing group is heating up and I want to have something for our next meeting. And, of course, I need to work on my courses for the fall--one freshman comp and three advanced comps. I also need to work on the online class I want to teach in the spring. I have a great deal to do and more time to do it.

So, stop and smell the honeysuckle, watch the hummingbirds, laugh at the neighbor's dog. It's summer, so let's all chill!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

And in the end, the grade you get is equal to the grade you earn...(sorry JPG&R)

It's that time again--the end of a semester. Along with the final papers and the final exams come the final grades. Some students will be happy; some will not. And, no matter how often I remind them that they earn their grades, I will have a few outraged, unhappy students. Oh, well. One of these semesters, probably the one where I retire, I'll get a whole group of students who "get it."

I both love and hate semester's end. I love it because I get a break from constant paper-grading and student kvetching, committee and faculty meetings, night classes, etc. While I'm in the middle of it, I'm fine. But when the end comes, I'm so ready for it. I always say I'm going to take a day to sleep, but I usually get antsy because of inactivity. I'm used to go, go, going, all the time--teaching, working my part time bookstore job, editing interviews for a local museum, painting windows for my sisters in Houston; I have difficulty slowing down. All that will change is the teaching and grading of papers. The rest will still need to be done, and I'll add some other projects--I'm in the middle of knitting socks, a sweater--and I've got a stack of books I want to read. And I need to finish unpacking and moving the rest of my "stuff" from my former house. So the summer will be full, even without school.

I hate the end of the semester, though. I have so many papers to grade and grades to average and post. But I hate that I'm "losing" my students. I've grown fond of most of them and some of them have had such difficult semesters that I worry about them. I hope they'll keep in touch, but they don't always. I can honestly say that I have a few former students who are friends of mine; they keep me posted on what's happening in their lives long after they leave my classes. I'm proud of the ones who have graduated and wish them the best. I hope I've helped them in some small way. I know they've helped me become better at what I do--my students "force" me to be a better teacher.

So, ciao to all my students. And ciao to the ones I'll meet in the fall. I hope we all have a restful and pleasant summer.