The View From My Desk: Week Six

Welcome back! We’ve just finished Week Six of classes, and naturally, that means that things are a bit more hectic around here than they were during Week Two. I’ve now taught 60 class sessions spread across five different courses, which adds up thus far to 6 sets of formal papers assessed (20-25 students to a set, or about 120, 3-5 page essays),  20 weekly quizzes written and graded, 30 discussion boards moderated (5 posts per student, per week, in 4 classes), and 10 homework sets and 100 reading responses corrected and commented on. I have a bit of a breather today; then next week, on to midterm exams.


As you can see from this photo that I snapped of my desk on Friday afternoon, teaching and assessing my students’ performance on various assignments are not the only things I have been focused on over the past several weeks. I’m also writing again (finally) after a hiatus of nearly a month while I got settled into my position and figured things out enough to do my job well. It feels good to be writing again. Here, I was putting the finishing touches on a chapter I’ve drafted for the edited collection on the Melusine legend that I am co-editing. I also completed the second draft of a paper I am giving next week at the Southeastern Medeval Association conference, and a first draft of my MLA paper. In total, I got about 12,000 words down in September, which I find astonishing and would not believe to be true, except for that handy “Word Count” feature in Word. I chalk this progress up both to my determination and desire to be an active scholar, and to the excellent support my family has given me in letting me stay in the office, quite late some nights–the evening security officer in our building, which dates to the first quarter of the 20th century, keeps turning out the hallway lights on me! While I adore old buildings, old buildings occasionally make strange noises, and I admit that my active imagination sometimes gets the better of me. I am thankful for the flashlight function on my phone when I open my office door to leave and everything is pitch-black!

Now that I’ve gotten these last, “Big Three” writing obligations off my plate, (at least for the time being, until revisions are requested!) today I’m taking a rare day off to attend the Cardinals game with my family and enjoy the beautiful autumn weather. I’m hoping as well that once the conference is safely over next week, and I am caught up on grading midterms and second papers for my classes, having these writing projects done will free up some space to conduct some intensive research beyond prepping for my class lectures.And it wouldn’t be a terrible thing if I were able to get a little fiction writing in, as well!

How about you–what projects are you working on these days?


About Melissa Ridley Elmes

Professor and writer; Unrepentant nerd; chaotic good. Author of Arthurian Things: A Collection of Poems. PhD, MFA. She/hers. Views my own.
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