28 April, 2015

april is the cruelest month

And spring is the cruelest quarter. And this is the point in every quarter where I feel most worthless, as a teacher, but spring is always the worst, and a spring when I am teaching a new book and a curriculum with which I am less familiar (i.e., not my own creation), with a student email or two indicating that person just Does Not Get It(tm), means I am seriously grumpy today. When you have a majority of students who don't get it, it's probably your fault; this is one student out of 37. But my mindset is such that I am convinced the problem is widespread and in stealth mode, and I will discover it tomorrow.

I have done this long enough to know that I am probably over-reacting, and worrying for nothing, but what ELSE am I supposed to do at 3AM? Sleep? Pff.

And I am over-reacting. I am up for merit review this year, and I got to read the recommendation letter the department sends off to the dean. They recommended I get the raise, and the letter was full of typos pretty glowing. In essence, I am good at what I do. My students like me. My colleagues like me. My supervisors think I know what I am doing, which is more important, and what matters most to me is that my students come back to me (read: stop me on campus, as we're passing each other) and tell me that they got through their other writing classes, that what I taught them helped, that they learned a lot, etc. I expect that kind of feedback when they want a recommendation letter (and it may even be true, even then; but that's part of the will-you-write-me-a-letter pitch). It's nice to get it unsolicited.

So I don't suck. And my students, outliers or not, do not suck. But it's spring, the pollen is flying, the weather is rollercoastering between cold and grey and summer warm, and everyone is over it.

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