Straws & Gradebooks

I just got called out on not turning in lesson plans for the past… umm… ever. So now I have to write a lesson retrospective, which may be good for next semester’s classes, but still seems like mega overload. My reasons for not writing any were, admittadly, stupid. I’m tempted to say that it was because I had no time, but that’s not, strictly speaking, true. It’s because I only have so much time in any given week that I can allocate to loathsome tasks. To be perfectly honest, what made the task particularly loathsome was not that they’re not particularly useful, or that they’re not real writing, or even that the standards I am supposed to be following are absurd. No, and here all my pettiness shows itself – the very last straw was that I couldn’t write the blasted things on a program that makes organization easy.

That’s a tiny bit less petty than it sounds, or at least I like to tell myself that it is. My reasoning (to the extent you can call it that) went like this: duplicating information again and again is stupid, and only contributes to the mental muddle that is my head when it comes to having so very many things I’m supposed to be doing. So I want one place to keep everything. Since I teach computers, and have all the assignments submitted electronically, it only made sense to type everything – so that I could send things to students, put it on my blog and website, and so on. But my software wasn’t up to organizing six different classes without a goodly amount of extra work, and, frankly, I’m spoiled. So I kept putting things off in distaste.

I found out a couple of days ago, and was reminded today, that we are expected to take attendance twice. once on the computer, and again in a hard copy gradebook. I never even opened the gradebook, because that is not how I generally organize information, and I already spend a shocking amount of time pushing information around. So now I’ll have to use that too. And, really, this kind of thing is beginning to feel like the much over referenced straw. 

Dilbert certainly fits, but I’m being reminded just now even more strongly of the Asterix comics, of invincible Gauls against comic Romans. The romans always have to chisel out their stone and wax reports in triplicate. So too our attendance records.


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