And the grind sets in"

February 04, 2014

Reblogged from: Searchingforthinplaces

At some point it happens to each of us, the daily grind sets in. Maybe not for those that are retired or on some prolonged adventure, or maybe it does. For most of us, the day to day becomes almost robotic. I am fortunate as a college teacher, that my everyday at least has some variety to it. My schedule varies, Tuesday-Thursday vs. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and the people I see vary, on the same kind of schedule. So at least there is that. And I also vary my lectures. Because I teach so many sections of the same course, I have found that I cannot teach the course sequentially. After I lecture on the foundational stuff at the beginning of the semester, I then allow the students to determine the order of lectures. Keeps me on my toes, and provides me with some much needed variety. But the fact is that is not the worst of the grind.

Paperwork. The documentation of a bureaucracy in order to justify its existence. And trust me it doesn’t have to actually be paper. Turns out electronic paperwork is equally as bad as actual paperwork. It simply means “they” know whether you have completed it that much more quickly. To make matters even worse, because classes begin and end at different intervals, you have paperwork that pops up at the most inopportune moments. Turns out that completing end of the semester paperwork in mid-February (which I will have to do) is as equally depressing as filing it out in May. For a fun example, take Shows-No Shows. We have to document whether or not a student has shown up for class. Yes, it turns out some people simply register for classes and never show up. I really don’t mind documenting the no shows, because it removes them from my roll sheet, they are not counted against me in retention statistics, and they don’t fail my class, which also counts against me. It also means they won’t get an F on their transcript, which will be beneficial to them eventually.

What I do mind is reporting “show”? Because Show-No show is a dichotomous variable, you either did or you didn’t. And if I reported you as NO SHOW, then you showed. Being a number person I can pretty much tell you statistically that I will have about 5% of my students No Show. Which means it takes me about 5 minutes to report No Shows across all my classes. Reporting SHOWS, is a much longer ordeal. And like life, at this point I don’t know if my Shows will stick it out. I don’t know if they have what it takes or are willing to put forth the effort, but at least for now they are here and I have the opportunity to impact their education.

Kinda like the church. You have just this moment. The brief moment when someone shows up, in your life, in your home, in your church, in your general path. Are you going to be able to account for them being a Show-No Show? We get so few opportunities with folks, don’t let one slip away.

So, when the roll is called up yonder, you gonna be a Show or No Show?