Went to a department party last night at Samantha's; was fine. Met a few nice new people, got to dance for a while, had some jello shots (strong!) and wine, got giggly, generally had fun.
Also had a great and very useful conversation with Jed about the Sri Lankan cycle before I went to the party, and a short and sleepy conversation with Jed about party dynamics after the party. Only graded 16 papers, though.
Today's the killer paper day. As soon as I finish this entry, I make some tea and grade the 4 leftover from yesterday. Then I shower and walk in to campus (no buses on Sunday, and besides, it's a gorgeous day) to pick up all the other papers which I managed to leave there Friday. Dork. I may stay there and work for a while; my office has no net connection (and the computer room next door is closed on the weekends), so I might actually be more productive if I stay there. We'll see.
There's really not much else planned for today; grade 'til I drop. But I'm happy anyway; grading these is pretty interesting. The students who tried are generally doing really well -- the ones who didn't are also easy to grade because they're so poor. Usually I mostly end up giving B's -- this time there are more A variants than B's, at least so far. Either they're learning something, or I'm losing my critical faculty. :-)
Note: Thanks for taking the polls. I'm not sure everyone noticed the 'view results' link under the poll questions (it's not in a very visible color on my computer), so I wanted to make you more aware of it. I think I'll put them in an entry again tomorrow, so I can be sure of getting the people who only check mail from work, but already there's almost 60 responses, which means there are twice as many people reading this thing as I thought! Right now 2/3's male, which is fine (I'd rather it were more like 1/2 male, but given the status of the net, smut, etc., I'll be grateful for what I've got). For a while, most readers seemed to be 20-somethings like me, but now the 30-somethings have pulled into the lead. Interesting! A couple of teengers too...meep. You guys just read the journal right? Not anything which could get me arrested? :-)
Have a lovely Sunday, everyone, and a joyous Easter to those who celebrate it!
7:30. Doggedly we go on. Starting to get tired, but I think I'll be okay. It's about 4 papers an hour, and I have 17 left. The current plan is to do 8 more tonight, by 10:00, then get up at 4:30 and finish them off. If I'm not sleepy at 10, I'll try to do 4 more, or as many as I can get through. This is my last marathon paper session, y'know -- in the summer, I'm only teaching 2 classes, and next year I'll be teaching 2 in the fall and 1 in the spring. So probably when I'm going short on sleep next year it'll be because I'm writing a paper, not grading one. :-)
I didn't end up walking to campus, actually. A friend called, and while normally I would have said I couldn't talk, she's someone who's had a particularly rough last month, and who I've been wanting to talk to. So we stayed on the phone for a little over an hour, and when we got off, I was a little worried about the hour of walking to campus and back. Luckily, Kevin called around then to see what I was doing today, and didn't mind running me to campus to pick up my papers...which took 15 minutes instead of an hour. I'm going to miss Kevin's car next year!
I've had various things in the background as I graded; it's not good for me to grade in silence, because then I actually pay too much attention to each paper -- I have to work so hard to resist making too many comments (they intimidate the students -- you need to give them a manageable amount to work on or many tend to despair and become convinced they'll never be able to write). So I tend to either put on old movies that I know by heart or bouncy music, ditto. Yesterday I had The Princess Bride, the animated Hobbit, and Tori Amos's Little Earthquakes; today was The Return of the King, Ladyhawke, and Madonna's Immaculate Collection.
They also keep me in a good mood; otherwise some of these would make me so angry/frustrated that I'd have to really fight to be fair. The background stuff keeps me cheerful, so I can let some of the difficult-to-take-ultra-conservatism roll off; after all, it's not my business to grade their politics -- just their writing and their logic. It's the last part that gets tricky sometimes -- the most deeply held beliefs are often not sufficiently supported, however many times I warn the students that those beliefs need to be. It makes me tempted to just not let them do papers on 'morals' -- they get themselves into real trouble with all the things they take for granted. But on the other hand, they have to learn sometime, and it might as well be from me, since I'll point it out to them relatively kindly and give them the chance to do it over. :-)