for some reason i'm not writing much here lately. maybe it's that i've been making an effort to create, rather than observing the creativity of others (via their blogs, primarily).
i drove to a really great antique store last week--i discovered it a while ago and this was only my second visit. i arrived about 15 minutes before closing time. however during the few minutes i was in the store, i realized that it made me feel realy good to be in there amongst all the old things. i didn't particularly have the urge to buy anything, i just wanted to touch and smell and look at all the things from a simpler, more innocent time.
i also went on a crafty/art supply shopping rampage & bought an ink pad, rubber stamps, watercolors, fabric, wire, marker, pencils, paintbrushes, and a black box which i decoupaged with the stamps i stole from mom last summer.
last night i took a walk and nearly tripped over a tree branch in the street. i picked it up and carried it home and now it is suspended above my bed--quite the sight--but really very lovely sculpturally, i think.
i'm figuring out in my head how i'm going to create a hanging lampshade using twigs, wire, and fabric. it's either going to be a huge success or spectacularly hideous.
this coming weekend i'm going away a retreat with some of the folks i study the bible with. i have no idea what to expect but i'm hoping for the best.
i've been slaving away writing tests and grading them at work. ughh. it's really quite stressful to make a test an accurate assessment of the material, not too easy or too hard, free of errors that might cause confusion, free of ambiguities which raise problems when grading. then you photocopy them all, tote them to class, and hope that the review session last time was good enough to jog their memories. give them the test, and use the quiet time while they are working to feverishly grade other tests, and also revise the test you wrote for the upcoming class. after class, dash back to your computer, fix the mistakes you found, make two different forms of the same test, make sure the points add up to 100, shuffle the order so students won't be tempted to copy. print them, and as you're headed to the copier, someone reminds you that there's a meeting that it would be great for you to attend. but i promised my students to be available to them prior to the test, so after i make copies i go there instead and two students are there, with questions. i help them to prepare, worrying that i made the test too easy or too hard. i also chat with them a bit--one girl wants to join americorps, so i tell her a bit about the americorps volunteer who organized the new orleans trip.
when the time arrives to begin the calc test, i make sure that students have alternating versions of the test (in a computer classroom there is not enough space to have them sit far apart). there are also two parts to the test--part one with a computer/graphing calculator, and part two without.
i administer all this, as well as the fact that about 5 computers won't start, latecomers, while sitting in the back of the classroom because i want to be able to ensure they don't look up things on the internet while taking the test (they're good kids, but it's good for them to know that i'm watching, so temptation vanishes). back there, i grade more of the tests from the morning for the entire two hours.
near the end of the time, i realize that one student is still working on part I of the test! what??? so i tell him to hurry up and get to part two. a couple of other students didn't turn in their projects so when they finish their tests i confer with them about why, and agree to let them turn a project in late for partial credit. grading the projects is no fun, especially when the students didn't work with others and make all sorts of unbelievable errors and omissions.
when the students start showing up for the class after mine, i take the three students who aren't done yet back to my office and have them work there, while i continue to grade. when i'm done, i record the grades in a grade book. then i enter all the grades in the computer so I can give the students an estimate of their grades so far. i check the roster and find that there are a total of about 5 students who didn't show up for the tests. this means i will have to make special arrangements for them, which is another hassle. i actually phone two of the, but get answering machines, so i hang up. there are confidentiality issues--and you don't want parents getting involved.
my work is done for the day, so i pack up my bags and head out to the car for the 45 minute drive home. i know i have a good job, and believe me i work very hard to keep things as simple as possible, but sometimes it's still just a crazy amount of stress and work. i was at school from 9 am to 7 pm today, and i worked on writing the calculus test for 2-3 hours last night.
i watched office space two nights in a row. job quitting fantasies? that movie is pure fodder. but maybe--i should lay off the office space a bit. take a break for a couple of evenings.
tonight, i walked to the drugstore (which is also the liquor store) and bought wine. i'm trying to unwind. there's this throbbing in my temple as well as a tension in my neck and back.