It was Tuesday morning and time to check email assignments due Monday night. Only half of the students had submitted the assignment. I can’t remember that happening in a class. Let’s see: this was not a new and different assignment. In fact, it mirrored an assignment the class had two weeks ago in a previous unit. All that differed this time was the topic.
It is week seven of an eight week term. My officemates, Anne and Karen have felt the stress (or shall we say the student stresses) of week seven. So many expectations are on the line, and at times, with unrealistic hopes by students not keeping pace or not digging into the material with enough depth. Still, this did not add up. Even a few of my stellar students had not sent an assignment, or had sent a puny one.
Class began. There seemed no reason not to extend a grace period. After all, when even good students are lagging, it is good to take note and make an adjustment. Things went well in class, but it was surprising how sweet the atmosphere was, yet it was one of unexpected trudging for some of the students. Clearly, everyone felt relaxed, but this was not a sharp operation. You would have thought coffee had been postponed too long that morning. This was Tuesday, not Monday.
Work progressed, and it was obvious that the extension had brought a measure of good cheer and a steady trickle of students asking questions while the class worked away at their computers. I mused over this odd phenomenon.
Class ended, and not even with vexation or undue frustration among students, even though some needed me to extend the extension. And why not? I’d rather get an assignment that is complete and later than hoped for, than get a partial that is still muddled. I wondered for a moment, “Is this too much grace?” That idea got dismissed in the better interest of more learning and less panic. Yes, it is week seven, and a week of tired mothers and employees, as well as other classes, illness, and stress over trying to wedge more life into a day than a day will rightly tolerate.
Leaving class, I headed down the hallway, and the flash came. I knew what had happened—why this weird occurrence. The lunar eclipse had been Sunday night. That’s it. Students were experiencing lunar eclipse hangover. I’m not prepared to defend this thesis scientifically. I am prepared to defend this thesis sci-fi-istically. That gives me pleasure, even if my speculation is wrong. After all, certain thoughts are fun to entertain despite not being facts, or a basis for any rational decisions. Trouble only comes when truth and fiction are not discerned.