Sunday, 20 January 2008

Chaos Resumes

Mornings are not my strong suit. Monday mornings? Cruel and unusual torture. And this Monday was perhaps particularly heinous. It was the first day of the new term. What does that mean? Well, for my PhD studies, not much. Doing PhD research is much more like a normal 9-5 job. Except, of course, that it's more like a 9am-11pm, 7 days/week job! (Well, for me it's more of a 10am-12am job. Remember that discussion of mornings???) Trust me, I've held down major, demanding 'normal' jobs. PhD research is far more time consuming. And that's sort of the point when I mean I say that term recommencing is not particularly earth shattering for my routine. Contrary to the assumption of those who've never done PostGrad studies, 'between term holidays' actually translates into, 'oh good, no pesky Undergrads bothering me, I can get more done'. Unfortunately, PhD research is not my only University responsibility. I also teach two sections of an Undergrad course called Sociolinguistics. This means that for me, the resumption of term means extra reading (I have to read everything my students do), sitting in on the large lecture (I teach the smaller seminars which go into greater detail of what is covered in the large lecture), lesson plans, coming up with handouts, worksheets and exercises, and most intrusively: collecting 25 3,000 word essays to mark! On the happy side, my adviser was happy with what I'd accomplished over the break :)

The rest of my week, unsurprisingly, was therefore consumed (one might even say devoured) by the monumental task of marking all those essays. It wouldn't be quite so bad, except that they are of such an appalling standard that it takes hours to read each one. I could get through them much faster, except that if I did that, I can't give feedback. Obviously feedback's important. So I have to spend a lot more time per essay, which means that after one week, I've only got a handful of essays marked.

Random activity of the week:Now, you may well ask, What on earth?? Well . . . the flooring in my kitchen is (was?) this horrible linoleum. It was printed with a wood plank pattern. Unfortunately, the people who owned the house before me did a lot of DIY, only without the help of knowing what they were doing. So the linoleum was not well installed. It was rippled and torn, and soft and horrible. Saturday, after a whole long difficult week of marking depressingly terrible essays, I was in the kitchen making dinner for me and Claire (housemate) and all the sudden, I just couldn't stand it any more. So I grabbed the stanley knife (exacto knife for you Americans) and started tearing it up. Claire heard me and came in, startled to find me ripping the floor out. I knew from plumbing the washing machine that there was other linoleum, which had been installed much better, underneath. We got it up and discovered part of the problem is that, because the top layer had not been sealed, it had gotten wet, but could not dry. That was part of why it was soft and rippling. It was also moldy! The underlayer of linoleum is old, stained and damaged, but it's sealed. I'm willing to live with it for a few weeks, until I get the kitchen gutted and replace the floor. For the first time, my heels made clicking noises as I crossed the kitchen this morning.

Right . . . back to marking. *sigh*


Heather said...

What an icky floor situation. I can just see you snapping and going at it with a vengeance! Good luck enduring those papers. I hope there are at least a few decent ones in there somewhere!

Coila said...

Yikes!! That's gotta be a pain. Well good luck with all of this!