Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Time is on my side, yes it is.

I'm there. Finally. I took all the Xmas decor down and packed it away on Sunday evening...ever commited to making time for my own writing. And, in the last two days, I've revised the assessment crap per colleague suggestions. I've completed the syllabus for my new prep. I've created the website for that course and uploaded all the electronic readings. I've also photocopied all the articles that will have to go on reserve as hard-copies. And tomorrow, I'll be taking all of them over to the library, along with a couple or three books. (While there, I can pick up some ILL books that have come in.) I must say, I'm really not leaving the students in this class with any excuses. All their course material will be readily available by the time the marathon reading session (that is this course) begins. In my entirely biased opinion, I think it's going to be a super course, very valuable and even enjoyable for all. Except, perhaps, those who do not/will not/cannot(?) read. SO, that's a goodly chunk of them.

It's very easy to become demoralized about the ability of students to give sustained effort/time/focus to their education. They are lazy, and/or they work fulltime, and/or they have no real interest in this dimension of their degree, and/or they've paid their $, and now they want their degree, et cetera. However, I went to the library on Monday morning (the first time it had been open since the holiday break) and I was somewhat heartened by the fact that nearly every single book I needed (for this course and my own research) was NOT on the shelves. I had looked each and every one of them up on-line on Sunday and knew they were not checked out, so I quickly realized they had to be in the sorting area where the reshelving process begins. And that is precisely where I spent about an hour locating all the texts I had on my list. As I combed through volumes in this sorting area, I was somewhat heartened to realize that every single one of these thousands of books waiting to be reshelved had likely *just* been in the hands of a student (versus faculty--who have such long and oddly-timed check out and return times that this end-of-the-semester motherlode of books couldn't have been theirs). Anyway, I actually enjoyed combing through all these books because 1) I found all but one book that I needed, and 2) I was seriously happy to realize that boatloads of library books had seen the light of day. So much research is done online (I'm the first to say three cheers for electronic access to academic journals), that many of our students barely cross the library threshold. So, my faith in book use is renewed.

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