In my department, we can often manage to schedule our teaching for four days a week, which gives us one "non-teaching" day to grade and do prep with fewer interruptions. For many people, the ideal is to cozy up at home with the cat or whatever and grade away.
Today is my non-teaching day, but I'm heading to the office early because I have 4+ hours of meetings spread over the day, from 9am to 4:30pm, for maximal disruption of grading and prep. Grrr.
One of the meetings is about the changing requirements of our travel policy. We've gotten pretty draconian warnings that we must, must, must attend one of these meetings, and today's is the only one that doesn't overlap with my teaching schedule.
You may have read the news about a certain presidential candidate being "called" to drop out of the race. I think he was "called" by a certain pair of brothers who are worried about the possibility of another candidate. All of them worry me, to be honest.
There's a vague fear around here that the erstwhile presidential candidate who's been absent much of the summer and fall will return his attention to smacking down the people he smacked down before to make his reputation with all the more vengeful fury. Since I've been smacked before, I'm not looking forward to further smacking.
I'd love to ask though, since the university system has in recent years turned its attention to the fact that the faculty throughout the system doesn't take the expected numbers of sick days, and has put in place rules to insist that if we're not working, we must take a sick day, has this erstwhile presidential candidate been paid for campaigning around the country instead of working "for" the state?
(My theory on the sick day thing is that faculty folks pretty much go to work and do their job unless they're hospitalized because that's the work ethic here and because trying to "make up" missed classes with our students is abysmally difficult. We're also encouraged to do that by a benefits policy that, for now at least, turns unused sick days into health insurance coverage at the beginning of retirement.)
I've already had two students slammed by disasters this semester. I think they'll both be okay, but life is very hard for them right now. I wish there were more I could do beyond being supportive and working with them to catch up when they can.