Drawing a blank

Last weekend, I drafted a paragraph that didn’t become a post:

In a very strange mental space at the moment.  Regular classes are over; next week will be review days and the beginning of exams. Planning and prepping are over; grading and calculating are not.  I’ve drafted my exams; I’ll revise and proofread them next week and probably copy them on Friday.  The summer seems so close–graduation is two weeks away–but the closer it gets, the more filled with obligations it looks.

I always get somewhat unsettled at term’s end, especially at the end of the year, and this time has been no exception; in fact, my sense of disruption is as bad as I’ve ever noticed.  (I should note, though, that it’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve been able to acknowledge it; I think I’ve been preoccupied with what I think I’m supposed to feel, or with the feelings that seem appropriate, like relief at the prospect of time off.)  Intensifying factors this time include the Snork Maiden’s continuing stormy relationship with middle school, the prospect of moving classrooms, and my enormous fondness for my current students.

Soon I’ll have a large pile of exams to grade, which will certainly feel familiar.  Then, a final meeting with each of my classes, and the graduation of the first students I taught at SA.  Then, next week, a closing meeting and luncheon and a couple of organizing-and-packing days.  I’d like, in spare chunks of time over the next few days, to do some more serious summer planning.

The planning I’ve done thus far has revealed to me one important fact:  Because of various commitments and projects, I will have very little completely free time this summer–that is, maybe I can eke out a week or two when I have no commitments beyond the care and feeding of myself and Stubb and the Snork Maiden, but that will be it.  Several of my weeks are pretty committed to work-related projects (about which more later)–these won’t be as full as typical school-year weeks, and I will have Some Free Time (I’m coding these SFT weeks on the summer plan), but I won’t have a lot of control over when I get that time.  I will, though, have several weeks which I’ve coded MT on my summer plan–“Managed Time” weeks where I should be able to schedule in serious blocks of writing time and then schedule other things around that.  What I’m hoping to do is to set some specific goals and really map the work out against the time that I can realistically have.  And, as before, I hope to map out also the various tasks that need to be done in summer’s more generous time, and the fun I want to have this summer as well.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. I like SA’s system of having one more class meeting after exams; what do you do during that class period? It always feels odd that the last scheduled time I have with my students is as they’re studying for the final and all stressed out; most of them do come by during the period set aside for “exam return” (although they actually don’t get to take the exam away with them), so I have a moment or two to talk about their exam and say goodbye for the summer, but it’s all a hustle and bustle with frequent interruptions.

    We had commencement yesterday, and all that’s left now is comments-writing (it will be a long day today!) and final meetings. Last summer I felt as you’re feeling now, that there was very little free time available during the summer; this summer feels like oceans of free time stretching out before me … even though I actually have one more week of scheduled obligations this summer. I think it’s just that the timing is differing, so that the free time I do have is all at the beginning of the summer, which is when I need it most. Anyway, glad to hear you’re scheduling in some fun as well as work!

    Reply

  2. Posted by meansomething on June 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    The last class meetings are really very short periods, just long enough to hand back the exams, collect them again, and say a few words. Most of my valedictory ramblings have to be contained in the last full-length class meetings, which are for exam review.

    I’m looking forward to hearing about your summer activities!

    Reply

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