First week of class, and usually it’s pretty slow this time of the semester. I’m teaching the same classes that I’ve always taught and we’re only going over introductions and syllabi.
But my hope of easing into the semester hasn’t quite panned out: the Christmas Break has been a flurry of Getting Things Done, and much of last week was tending a very unhappy Daniel — vomiting and diarrhea. At one point last week, Daniel was stabilized enough to go back to daycare, but only after another bout of morning vomiting. Still smelling like toddler puke, I made it to my division meeting, albeit a half-an-hour late. Fortunately, Eastfield — as with many community colleges — is very child-friendly, and so many of my colleagues (including my new dean) could commiserate.
Fortunately this week, Daniel’s recovered from what looks like a stomach bug, and the Hubby seems to have recovered from his bout of the flu (although it looks like his mountain cedar allergy is acting up). Going back to school and/or work is always better when folks are healthy!
But, in taking care of sick folk and household errands that really needed tending to, I didn’t have the chance to re-work my classes to fit the new Learning Studios classroom that I’m in, as well as the online components to three of my six classes. So what this week has been is prep-prep-prep on the Blackboard courses, and today it’s putting together the online gradebook.
And next — tinkering with those PowerPoints.
It’s odd to feel behind when I know that I’m not. I’m chalking it up to my annual bouts of SAD (seasonal affective disorder). This time I’m WILLING myself not to fall into full-blown depressive symptoms, although it’s tough when the sun goes down. My broken head starts to launch those “despair and die” chemicals, with black-mood narratives at the ready; but I have this mantra from Randy Pausch’s widow to fight it back: “Not helpful.”
The result? The SAD (as well as other situational depressive stuff) is still there, lying underneath the surface. But what bubbles up is absent-mindedness and difficulty focusing on any one thing. My normal MO of concentrating on one thing until that thing is complete has splintered into a half-assed multi-tasking flightiness, of which I’ve already apologized to my students, even at this early date.
I think it’s symptomatic of just keeping busy so I don’t dwell on any one thing, which is good on keeping tabs on everything, but not so good in getting any one thing done *well.*
Ah, well. At least I only have one class to teach on Thursdays (which got taught — it was at 8am), and so I have the rest of the work day to get things done and, hopefully, start to feel like I’m finally catching up.