Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I'm not happy right now. Part of it is two things that happened to me over the past couple days that leave me feeling invalidated, but part of it is my irritation at myself for letting them get to me.

Thing the first (and the worse one): I had a student who earned a D come by my office. He as much as implied I was unfair and subjective in my grading: he asked, "Did I do something that offended you, so you would grade me down?"

You have to understand, grading objectively is one of my goals. I go to great lengths to do so. I cover up names on papers, I read things through multiple times, I use grading rubrics - all in an effort to be FAIR.

I asked him, "Why do you feel that way?" Not argumentatively, but curious: I tried to be fair. He claimed he had had other people read his papers and they wound up getting better grades than he did. I explained that maybe there were things I looked for that his classmates didn't point out, and that might be the problem. I also invited him to bring the papers he was concerned about in to me and let me look at them again and go over with them with him (not an easy thing for me to do: I have far too much of my regular work this week). He still hasn't come back (after asking me Monday afternoon).

But it bothers me, and it gives me a nagging fear I may have to deal with a grade appeal in the future. And it really does bother me that someone might feel that I could let my personal feelings about them (and honestly, I barely know this guy - he never spoke up in class, he was never a "problem" like a couple of the other guys. Maybe he interpreted my benign neglect - while I was sparring with the guys in the back row to get them to stop goofing off - as my being offended with him.)

Or maybe I'm way over thinking this, and he was just trying it as a gambit to get a higher grade ("maybe making her feel guilty will work.")

2. I have a - I guess colleague is the right word, although strictly speaking they're not that - who is needing to play the My Problem is Bigger Than Yours Roulette game.

I'm not even allowed, apparently, to mention that I am tired, unless I am facing the same problems and more that this person is facing. I'm not allowed to be crabby about stuff unless I have bigger troubles than they do.

And I hate that stinkin' game. Both because it makes me feel like they're saying "don't look at her problems, don't give her any sympathy, because I deserve MORE" and also "you should feel very very guilty for even feeling at all bad because I have it so much worse than you."

And that's just not helpful or kind or productive, I think.

And it's stuff like this - and like I said, I'm annoyed at myself for being petty enough to let it get to me - that drive me to the daydreams about my Tiny House out in the woods - I've talked about this before, how I like to read the Tiny House blog and read about small houses and living off the land and being off the grid and all of that, and a big part of it I think is that I get so dang frustrated with other people, that I think about how nice it would be to have a tiny house somewhere, with its own well and greywater/septic system, and solar panels and batteries for electricity, and all of that, and be off the grid as much as a person can be, and even try growing or hunting most of my own food. And I think a lot of it is that, when I get feeling like I do right now, that I have a really deep desire to give a Johnny-Cash-style one-finger salute to the rest of the world, and go off to my cabin, and slam the door on the world, and just hole up with my books and my embroidery and all of that and let the world go hang.

And I feel that way both about political events - if I'm off the grid, they can't find me to enroll me in some bobdang "wellness" program that is ostensibly aimed at lowering healthcare costs but is really just people nannying at me, or I don't have to listen to what's happening in Greece and wonder if it will happen here in a few years, and I don't have to deal with demanding or rude or self-centered people.

And while I realize, intellectually, that it probably wouldn't be healthy for me to be all by myself with no human contact, emotionally, being able to run away and just live off the land, just depend on my own self for everything, is a powerful fantasy.

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