Tuesday, December 29, 2020

So Much Has Happened...

 since I last posted.

We made it through finals.  One of my students says they're going to go through the process to grieve their grade.  I think the grade I put in is the grade they earned.  

Most of the other students did pretty darned well.  In their final reflection, a number talked about working harder on my class than on other classes, and learning really valuable skills about critical reading and research.  So that was good.

The person I talked about hiring here and here has quit for another job.  I don't know whether this has to do with me being a poor manager and not doing a good job bringing the person on board, or the person being a job-hopper, or what.  

But it means trying to hire again for that position, which is a huge additional task.

In the meantime, Covid continues apace and more.  The Northwoods' hospital is supposedly overbooked and in difficulty.  And the numbers of people who just won't wear masks is frustrating.

And the numbers of people who insisted on traveling or getting together with large groups for Thanksgiving and Christmas is even more frustrating.  I GET that it's hard.  Really.  But if we can all hold on for six months, things will get so much better, and fewer people will be sick, or die, or have long term problems.

Thanksgiving for me:  called with family, not zoom, but you get the idea.  That was nice.  A friend invited me to pick up a lovely dinner and bring it home.  So I did.  It was a lovely dinner.  And a bit lonely.

Christmas for me: called with family, not zoom, but you get the idea.  That was nice.  A friend invited me to pick up a lovely dinner and bring it home.  So I did.  I was a lovely dinner.  And a bit lonely.

I did a fair bit of Christmas prep for my Mom from afar: first, I sent a package with some things she needed and some reindeer antler hats for her and a friend.  Then I sent a package with a flannel Christmas tree thing, treats, and a note.  Then I sent another package with cute ornaments in various "people" shapes (elf, Santa, snowman, gingerbread man, etc) with pictures of family members in the face area (I got the ornaments, and family members sent me pictures, which a local place printed in the right size).  I think that was helpful for her.  I hope so.

Before Christmas, I started taking a walk about once a week with the dinner friend's six year old kid.  We walk to a local coffee shop, get hot cocoa or cider, and then walk to the park area where there are big rocks and such to play on, and play with our imaginations for a while, drink our drinks, and walk back.  It's little enough to do to give a friend a break from homeschooling and such.

About two weeks before Christmas, I got one of the ornament things, and asked the kid if they wanted to give his parents a present.  They did, of course.  They're at that age when giving a present is important, too.  So we took a picture, and I said I'd get it printed and put it in the package.  And then they drew a picture to go with it.

And then the next time we went to get cider, I gave them the wrapped package and they put it under their tree.  They were excited.

On Christmas Eve, my friend called to tell me that the first thing when they were going to open presents under the tree, the kid had wanted them to open their present, and was so proud of it.  And, of course, my friends loved it, too.

I got the kid some legos, and arranged with their Mom to do a scavenger hunt.  So I wrapped five gifts with clues and put a little sticker on each about where it should be hidden (so they'd be in the right order), and the kid got to do a scavenger hunt for their present on Christmas, which I'm told they enjoyed a lot.  (I'd left the gifts wrapped in the back of my car while we went on our walk for cider, and their Mom took them out and took care of the rest.)  The Mom really wanted to make this a good Christmas for the kid, even though they wouldn't be with family, and I think this added a little.

So now, things to do:

Hire a new person.

Year Evaluations for everyone but me (the Dean does mine)

Assessment stuffs, both our programs and the GE program

Scheduling stuffs (I need to schedule our non tenure track folks for fall)

Budget work

Prep my spring course and get it all on line and ready, as much as possible.  My spring course is too big to fit all together in a room, so I have to do what they consider a "hi-flex" thing: one third of the students in class each day, the rest on line.  What a flustercluck!

Evals for our non tenure track folks with our writing program and personnel committee chair.

Write letters for two tenure track folks' reappointment.

Work on a scholarship thing.  This is actually the BEST news lately.  A generous donor asked us what we'd do with a couple thousand dollars, and we said we'd love to give scholarships to a cohort of underrepresented students entering, thinking of English majors/minors.  And now we have to find students!  But it's all very late in the game, so...

And yet.... I feel absolutely no energy to do this stuff.  I really need to just power through.  Wish me luck.

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