“Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.”
A student visiting campus yesterday asked me how you manage to read the quantity of files you do and (more or less) still have a life?
Quality reading takes time, for sure. But, I really enjoy opening a new file and starting the process of getting to know a student (as much as is possible in ~20 pages). Reading about your classes, your family, your activities, your after school job, your hopes, your dreams, your strengths, etc; it’s all incredibly rewarding. And yes, at times, tedious.
It’s a file by file, day by day thing. Mostly I invoke one of my favorite quotes from author, pastor, and native Chicagoan James Gordon Gilkey. It’s a long passage, but in keeping with the meaning of his words, so worth it for those with the patience to read all of it:
“Most of us think ourselves as standing wearily and helplessly at the center of a circle bristling with tasks, burdens, problems, annoyance, and responsibilities which are rushing in upon us. At every moment we have a dozen different things to do, a dozen problems to solve, a dozen strains to endure. We see ourselves as overdriven, overburdened, overtired. This is a common mental picture and it is totally false. No one of us, however crowded his life, has such an existence. What is the true picture of your life? Imagine that there is an hour glass on your desk. Connecting the bowl at the top with the bowl at the bottom is a tube so thin that only one grain of sand can pass through it at a time. That is the true picture of your life, even on a super busy day, the crowded hours come to you always one moment at a time. That is the only way they can come. The day may bring many tasks, many problems, strains, but invariably they come in single file. You want to gain emotional poise? Remember the hourglass, the grains of sand dropping one by one. “
But if symbolic discussions of how we read files isn’t doing it for you, I will be taking what we call a “reading day” this Friday (1/11) where I will be staying home and doing nothing but reading files. I will check in multiple times throughout the day to let you know how I read a file and generally how it’s going. Check it out then.
P.S. Charlie Wilson’s War, excellent film. It’s hard to gauge whether Tom Hanks or Philip Seymour Hoffman is the most versatile actor of our generation. Great cast, interesting plot. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/movies/la-et-wilson7jan07,1,4569505.story?coll=la-entnews-movies