I’m swamped

Well, I didn’t come back and finished that post I started on Monday as I said I would. The reason? I’ve been swamped. Can you believe I almost forgot Sophie’s birthday yesterday? Sophie’s birthday! Sophie, my only niece, the girl I love the most, the one that always makes me smile, the one that now lives miles and miles away and I never get to see unless a plane is involved. The one I miss dearly. Yeah, she’s a kid, not on FB, meaning there is no reminder of her bday coming up or of it being the day I need to call. Not to mention I didn’t buy her present in advance, as I usually do, so that it gets there on the day. This time the gift will be late. This time I won’t be there for the party on Saturday, this time I almost missed the call and I never miss the call.

I’m tired. I’m super tired. It’s not only the getting up early thing, which is obviously kicking by butt, but the amount of things I’m involved in and need to do before the end of the quarter. We are on week 9 of 11, this is it, the last push. Students are stressed out with finals and projects, and I am stressed out with the amount of grading I am doing and need to do in the next two weeks. But classes are not the half of it. I have meetings and work to be done for these meetings, coming out of my ears. I have two new projects (I invented) which need a TON of time and work to get off the ground. I have my previous research which needs tweaking so I can get it published, I have a conference and trip abroad coming up in two weeks and I have a new class starting in a month I need to prep for.

Then, on top of that, I have the domestic stuff to take care of. Which I have to say is just the day-to-day stuff and not some major crisis with an appliances, or the car, and for that I’m thankful. But there are always groceries to buy and put away, laundry to do, cleaning and dusting to get to, and little errands to run here and there that add themselves up to the list.

My DVR is almost full, the magazines are pilling up, that book I started in Christmas for fun, is still untouched. I feel like I’m falling behind in every aspect. I do so much, I get up so early, I work until so late and yet, the list is not even a quarter smaller than it was last week. Things keep adding themselves to it and I feel like I need a break, before I break down screaming: ENOUGH!

Ok, this is starting to sounds very overwhelming. The thing is I’ve had a few packed, somewhat intense days lately and I’m starting to feel it. Yesterday, for the first time (that I remember) I came back to my office and was in tears. Tears! As in crying. I’ve felt frustrated at work before, unsatisfied, disappointed, let down, but cry? Nah, work is not something one cries about, right? Uhm, yeah, not so much yesterday. I didn’t full blown cry it out, I was at work, so it wasn’t really possible, and also, I think tears were coming down out of sheer frustration, but not because I needed a catharsis, which is when I typically cry. So it was more so, a few tears streaming down my cheek, than a crying session, which now thinking about it, I might need? To de-stress, I mean. Don’t know.

In any case, the whole thing was about grades, students being unhappy with the grades they got and the feedback being too critical. Apparently, student’s here are used to an easy A and positive feedback no matter what. Well, there’s nothing easy about getting an A with me, and constructive feedback is what I believe students, in training, need to become the best professionals they can. So, needless to say, they are not happy campers and yesterday, engulfed in all their frustration, they let me know it. I, who hate grading, for exactly this reason, explained again and again, listened, explained again, listened… you get the picture right? But in that process I was a bit blown away by what they had to say. Not about this assignment only, but about the class. And I shouldn’t generalize, because it was one student, who seems bitter to begin with, who voiced she had learned nothing and this had been a waist of her time. While others had much more positive perspectives and understood the nature of this class and the purpose of the feedback. But why is it the negative is what always gets to us the deepest? The one negative comment, the one unhappy camper, the one, which might not even be true to the whole picture, but more so a reflection of a moment’s feeling? I don’t know, but somehow, that’s what sticks. Which then leads me into a reflective mode, in which I revisit my own feedback and weigh it to see how many negatives versus positives aspects are the students getting.

It’s a learning experience. Sometimes much more enjoyed than others. It’s a process and every group is different. Last quarter my students from the theoretical class complained about too much theory and many lectures. This quarter my students (well, just this one) complain about the curriculum (strategies, hands-on) class being not theoretical enough and not having lectures or me “teaching” them anything. It’s like there is no winning.  Well, aside from them not really getting the different types of contents in their different courses, and the different methods which are more or less appropriate to teach each type of content.

In any case, that’s where I am right now. Trying to navigate it all and keep my head above water. Trying to do it all. Because, isn’t that what we are supposed to do? All and everything? Yeah, I’m here trying, and this particular week, feeling a little overwhelmed by it.

On a brighter note, tonight I have candlelight yoga, and that always makes me feel better. And… have you seen the new iPad? Doesn’t it look great? I sooooo want one.

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