At the ends of the semesters is a good time to contemplate failure. Or possibly success. Definitely all the gradations of accomplishment and/or the lack thereof in between.
I am contemplating how many ways I failed my students, while also noting that they did just about as well as they do, as a group, when I feel like I'm trying my very hardest. As a for instance.
I am feeling the creaky structure of my course while also noting that the improvements I made this semester over last, in terms of design, actually seem to have helped.
I am begging, bargaining, and pleading with my students to give me their work already, despite the fact that I made policies to say I wouldn't.
There are a few radiant moments in there. Shining moments, where not only was the writer's work splendid but the writer realized why it was splendid, and articulated it for him/herself. And I got to listen in. That's a recompense.
Well, in the end, all there is to say is: that's a semester, folks. Except for the incompletes I gave to students who would not not not give up their damned final portfolios to me. I just couldn't bear to fail them. And for that, there will be many a future e-mail to pay, alas.