The AP Experiment/Reflections on Clutter

My AP students are piloting something that I plan to use more in teaching: Google Documents.  In Google Docs, students are able to create word processing documents and spreadsheets, and share them with other students and/or with me.  I envision a day when I can do most of my grading on my iPad, and all my student work is in “the cloud.”  Gone will be the days of big heavy bags of essays and boxes of spiral notebooks.  I can slip my iPad into my purse, and walk out to the parking lot, hands free.  I imagine a little spring in my step.

But I’m not quite there.  I still am carrying home a backpack, a bag and a box — every night.  I stagger in to my kitchen, plop my heavy load down on the table, and go about my evening.  Half of the time, I never even get to those bags and boxes.  And I’m busy!  Most nights, I’m reading, preparing, planning the next day, the next week, the next month.

So now, with the AP kids, I’m experiencing all of the glitches.  Some of them seem to be pretty confused.  A document-naming protocol, for example: I’ve discovered that it has to be called out.  Otherwise, everyone shares documents entitled “Synthesis Essay,” or “Rhetorical Precis.”  And the late papers are still coming in, and Docs requires that I take the time to note that they are late, or perhaps I should just ignore that fact?  I’m divided on this one.  Does it matter?  And if it doesn’t — why doesn’t it?

Of course, that long list of unopened documents will plague me just as much as the stacks of essays did on the dining room table.  Yet…maybe it’s too early in the year to brag, but tonight, I ate my dinner on the dining room table, and then I used the table to fold clean laundry.  The paperwork remains contained.  The paperwork that exists is over there in the two unopened bags and the untouched box.

Well, the paperwork from school is contained. Actually, I have a long way to go until my office is clear and uncluttered.  I may never get there, but my goal is to reduce the existing clutter by half.  It’s a fire hazard in here.  And I resent the fact that my mail carrier stuffs reams of paper through my mail slot every day that I immediately have to transfer to the shredder or to the recycling bin.  My life remains a shuffle of paper, despite my efforts to reduce the load.


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