Today has been full of important things and not-so-important things. Some good, some bad, some frustrating, and some worthy of jumping up and down and yelling for joy (if that didn't hurt my head).
My students either did not show up today or did not come prepared. Out of 46 students that should have been there, only around 30 bothered to come to class; out of that 30, I would say only about 4 were actually prepared for class. In once section, only two students brought their books, and only one person knew anything about the reading or lecture. I gave one class a pop quiz due to their lack of preparation from last week. It looks like next week every one of my classes deserves some punishment. Bah. It's awfully early in the semester for such awful behavior. It's only the third week of class!! This gives me grave doubts about their ability to survive the next 13 weeks....
We have the ability to administratively drop students who do not attend class. My boss and the TAs decided that we would drop anyone who missed 2 out of the first 3 Friday sections. So this past Wednesday, I went through my rosters and ended up dropping 3 students from the lists - one from each class. I emailed the names and section #s to my boss just in case the students threw hissy fits and told one of the new TAs that I have never had a student who had been dropped actually show up. I spoke too soon.
I arrived at my first classroom and started unpacking and getting set up when a student I didn't recognize asked if I had a syllabus. The rest of our interaction went something like this:
Me: "Were you not in class the past two Fridays? I handed the syllabi out two weeks ago."
Student: "Nah, I wasn't here."
Me: [looks skeptically at student] "What's your name?"
S: "My name is _____."
Me: [recognizes the name as one that I dropped, but not from this class; the student had been registered in my 11 a.m. class, not the 10 a.m. class] "I'm looking at my roster, and you are not registered in this class."
S: "Yes, I am."
Me: "No, no, you're not. I'm looking at the official roster. You have never been in this section."
S: [comes over to me and whips out his PDA] "Yes, I am. See? This is my schedule. It's right here! So I have to be here."
Me: "That doesn't matter. You are not registered in this section." [Am logging into my rosters as he continues to shove his PDA in my face, as if the PDA trumps all] "Look - you are not on these rosters. If you were not here the first two weeks, you were administratively dropped from the class. But you were never registered for this section, no matter what."
S: "Well, I was registered for some class.... How do I get back in?"
Me: "You will have to speak with the professor." [Then ensued a few minutes of trying to explain the idea of "office hours" because he didn't understand that my boss is not sitting in his office every second of the day. Then he said that he's on the baseball team and can't go speak with the professor anyway. *sigh*]
When I got home this afternoon, I saw an email from my boss. The student, who did not know either my name or the professor's name, emailed him saying that had gone "to his correct section" and had been told he wasn't in the class anymore and wanted to know how to get back in. My boss explained kindly that he had explained the attendance policy in lectures, on the syllabus, and it had been explained in sections, and if the student had come to any of these he would have been aware of these facts. As such, since he had already missed so much of the course, the professor could not break his own rules and let him back in.
See? My roster trumps your PDA any day of the week! :-p
I went to a massage therapy session this afternoon. I have been in so much pain lately that I was getting desperate. I had to try something before I gave up. So after trying to do some research and getting no help from the health center, I decided to try a therapy place about 1/2 mile from my apartment. I researched the therapists there, and about 1/4 of them are members of the American Massage Therapy Association, and all of them are licensed and certified. They do all different kinds of work - deep tissue massage, swedish massage, pressure points, shiatsu, and about 5 others that I don't know anything about. So after work today, I came home and went there for a 30 minute appointment. It was a little weird at first, since I'm not used to being that not-dressed with anyone, but I was really comfortable with the therapist they paired me with. She's not much older than me, and reminded me a lot of the physical therapists I've worked with in the past. She even showed me some neck stretches to do for the tightness there. It was all very professional and very relaxing. I'm still really tight - as I knew I would be, considering how many migraines I've had lately and how tight I was to begin with. But it was really nice. I will absolutely go back. Soon. I just wish it was a bit cheaper. It's around $30 a session, which isn't terrible at all. It's just that I have no money. So we'll see. Maybe in two weeks I'll go back, to try to help me get through comps stuff.
The VERY Good
And, finally, the very good news... I got an email today and learned: I made it past the first round of the Fulbright!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Me = relieved beyond belief. If the email had been bad news, I would probably be in a little ball of stress trying to figure out what in the world to do with my life and how to survive financially once the paychecks all stop in May. So, yay, national committee for passing me along to Spain! Now comes the long, long waiting period. God's will be done.