You and I sat down and had a conversation awhile ago, wherein we planned that you would be completely wall-to-wall, and we both agreed that it would be fine: sometimes immersion in a task is just the thing, a task like conferring with students about their midterm portfolios, and in fact, it could be transformative, changing the tenor of the student-teacher relationship, what with the individual attention and the reams of comments. We actually planned on transformation, This Past Week. It was on our agenda.
However, This Past Week, things didn't exactly follow as we had envisioned them. When we announced to the students that their portfolios needed to be posted by midnight Monday, we thought they would comply. Writing these words--"we thought they would comply"--how absurd they sound! How many years have I been teaching? Couldn't you have reminded me, This Past Week, that such an expectation would be naive? in the extreme? You could have at least laughed at me, affectionately or even derisorily. It would have saved us both a lot of grief.
Only you know, This Past Week, how I died just a little when the students did not show at their appointed hour. Just a little, but still. I'm middle-aged, This Past Week. I can't afford to be dying all the time.
If we were doing this again, This Past Week, how would we correct for this risible failure to envision the world as it really is--that students, even having written things down, forget, or postpone, or don't think of you the writing teacher as the sun (with them the writing students as the moon, like Juliet and Romeo) and thus blow you off like a bad date? What would we do differently? Punishment? threats?
And now, This Past Week, you are spilling into the new week, because I have had to reschedule appointments like mad. I have always been the apostle of "Just One More Chance," which, frankly, I should find a new religion, because Just One More Chance basically doubles my labor and makes me feel a little bad and a little mad. Also, there's that whole dying a little thing, which, let's face it, does no one any favors.
TAGS: gospel, dying by degrees, expectations, teaching, plan