I didn't waste any time either; I stopped for a latte but didn't dawdle.
But unfortunately, arriving at the university I made the mistake of turning down Harpst Street, which has temporarily become a one-way road while construction is going on.
On such a busy morning, at such a busy time, the construction crew in its wisdom decided to back a semi down that road to unload something, effectively trapping the cars in place for a full 15 minutes.
How frustrating to attend and work at a university with so little regard for the business that is actually supposed to be taking place there -- learning and teaching!
- They are constructing new dorms in the site where once there was parking, so now there is even less parking than ever.
- New dorms, when freshman and transfer admissions have been capped early and low for the spring.
- New construction when teachers and all employees have been required to furlough all semester.
I wasn't even all the way up B Street when I heard the bell tolling the hour.
Legs aching, face red with exertion, breathing hard --- and late; that is how I arrived to the portfolio reading.
This day we were to read our own students' portfolios, and assign scores from 0 to 6, based on a strict rubric. We were "normed" ahead of time through reading sample portfolios representing each of those scores. This was to ensure we agreed on a standard of university-level writing.
It was awful at first, but then I found my groove and it became just a task, like any task.
As a new teacher, I struggled with self-doubt-- about my judgment, my objectivity and my fairness. This task was so very different from my usual work of encouraging developing writers to improve, revise, go deeper, try harder; this was simply passing judgment on a final product.
After several hours, I had fulfilled my task of reading the 21 portfolios from my students, filled out all the forms, dotted Is and crossed Ts.
Then I asked the composition director how many there would be for us (all) to read tomorrow, when all the composition faculty will gather for a long and grueling day of reading.
About 700, she said. 700?!
Wish us luck.