I spent all day yesterday grading the final essays in my graduate course on the Golden Age Spanish literature. Those essays were really brilliant. My students have obviously worked a lot to read and analyze the very difficult Baroque texts we have been discussing. Then this morning students in my Advanced Spanish Conversation class started delivering their final (and very difficult) presentations. Both groups that presented today did amazing. Some of these students couldn't string two correct sentences along at the beginning of the course, and now they are chattering away, making jokes in Spanish and using mexicanisms in a most charming way.
Now would be the perfect time for me to sit back and enjoy the fruits of my semester-long labor, but I can't do that because I'm completely stuck on the recalcitrant grad student who has been the subject of three of my posts and who, after a brief moment of lucidity, went back to her recalcitrant ways and spent the entire weekend martyrizing me with a barrage of hysterical e-mails.
Obviously, nobody can be successful all the time. You can put all the effort in the world into a student but unless they are willing to make at least a minor effort to improve, it isn't likely to work. On a reasonable level, I understand all that. Still, I can't stop thinking about what I could have done or what I can still do in the last week of classes to make things better for this student. I keep composing long monologues addressed to her in my head, which send my lood pressure through the roof and makes it so much harder for me to concentrate on the hard-working, responsible students who, to be completely honest, are a lot more deserving of my attention.
Is this fixation on the negative something that many people share, or is it just me? It's our last class meeting in the course with the recalcitrant student, but I'm afraid I won't be able to put this debacle out of my mind even after the course is over. The last thing I want to do is to spend my entire winter holidays obsessing over this issue. I'd so much rather concentrate on planning the courses for next semester because I will finally be teaching a course I'd been dreaming about for years.