Roadblocks

 

I am loathe to post today because no research or writing has been happening, but maybe I need to cheek in anyway, just to shame myself into getting something done tomorrow. On Wednesday I taught for the first time in ages, and though the class went well it totally wiped me out. Plus I’ve had a small pile of my hands-down least favorite administrative task to work my way through, and it had to be done this week. It’s “grade justification” narratives from last semester. Here in Norway, academic staff grade other people’s students rather than their own, so even though I didn’t teach last semester I graded a bunch of final papers. Students here have the right to request a written narrative explanation (justification) of the grade they received, and once they’ve received that they have the right to appeal their grade. I had four of those to write up this week, and each one takes me hours. Obviously it’s very important to do a good job in the justification, and that entails poring over the original paper, picking apart the arguments, style, and mechanics. I nearly always agree with myself–in other words I find good evidence that the assigned B really was a B and not an A, but it is excruciating work, especially since I have to compose the results in my non-native language. It ain’t fun having to tell a student that her or his style is awkward or that there are too many spelling mistakes when I’m terrified that my own writing isn’t up to par. Much angst and gnashing of teeth all around.

Add to that flurries of planning for two guest lectures in another class, and a big departmental budget and planning meeting with upper administration, and the day today was shot. There were three longish memos to read in preparation for the meeting, and I read all of them, asked a (in retrospect foolish) question, and wrote up a list of my real questions for my colleague who sits on the department advisory board (where the real power is).

In the hopes of recovering my stride and getting at least a little writing done this week, I printed out a copy of the Fruen fra havet article to read on the ferry ride home. I think it’s fitting of this week’s general tone that I printed out the wrong draft (four instead of five). Sigh. Here’s hoping something clicks tomorrow. Derp.

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