I feel like a failure

I just got a call from a friend who works as an academic adviser on campus. He told me that a student complained to him about my extreme delay in getting work back to students in her class. This is a very understandable complaint — I’m way behind in grading in technical writing. I’m all caught up in one of my business writing classes, almost caught up in the other, and all caught up in LGBT studies except for the book reviews that were turned in on Friday. Technical writing, however, I’m super far behind in work.

Last term, this was a bit more understandable. It was my first term teaching the course, and I overloaded myself (and the students) with the amount of work. I revised the syllabus to require a bit less and tried to spread out the work differently. However, I’m finding I didn’t plan very well still. Being behind in work now is a little bit a matter of circumstances (such as traveling too much for conferences, especially early in the term). But it’s also that I didn’t think about how my technical writing and business writing schedules would wind up with conferences on the same week (week 3) and turning in major assignments at about the same time. I made a huge scheduling biff, and the consequences are there: poor feedback, hurried grading, and delayed returning of paper. Heck, I have one minor assignment that I have still not finished grading from week 2!

Sara and I were talking the other day about this position (the bridge appointment in the English department). When she had it, she said she had to work harder than she did in graduate school, and that she’d be up until midnight grading and was constantly working. I feel the same: I put in 8 hour days, work again after the gym or dinner, sometimes until 11:00 or 12:00, and even sometimes until 1:00 or 2:00 (and once until 5:00 am this term). And then there’s the weekend. While I had some fun this weekend, I think I also worked around 14 hours or more. I’ve learned to focus more this term and procrastinate less (one can tell from my decreased blogging).

This last paragraph is to just complain; it’s not meant as a justification of being behind in grading.

I shouldn’t even be writing this right now, but it was weighing on me as I was grading. I feel slightly better, so now it’s back to work!

This entry was posted in WR214: Writing in Business, WR327: Technical Writing, WS399: LGBT Studies. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to I feel like a failure

  1. Chanel Brown says:

    Reading your post makes me think of an English instructor at YVCC who I’ve never taken a class from but have heard a lot of students (friends and students in the writing center) complain about. One complaint is that she takes too long to get assignments graded and returned. Apparently. this instructor also tends to treat some students as nuisances, or annoyances, by not being willing after class to clarify assignment requirements or acting frustrated at having to answer too many questions in class. One student started to cry when she told me about how this instructor had embarrassed her and made her feel stupid and annoying when she offered her opinion of a short story and the instructor told her she’d rather not hear her opinions. To me, the instructor kind of shows a general unhappiness with teaching and seems like she’d be better suited in some other kind of writing career.

    The point of all that is to say that you show a real concern for your students and passion for what you’re doing, and seem anything but a failure, especially when there are so many instructors who don’t like what they’re doing and make their students feel miserable for it.

    My comment is getting too long. I should have just said, “Don’t feel like a failure!”

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you, Chanel. 🙂

    I’m sorry to hear about the teacher at YVCC. That’s sad and awful!

    I’m catching up, but slowly.

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