Friday, December 16, 2011

It Is Finished


It has been a very long semester, here in Baja Canada. But yesterday was my last class at Not Quite So Far Away Campus, and there will be no further 2am, “frantically whomping up a lecture on a topic I had never heard of prior to last week” nights, at least for the foreseeable future.

My US2 class has also been put to bed as far as lectures go. I last taught that one in 2008 and my entire understanding of the underlying dynamics of recent American history has changed since then, so somehow I managed to transfer all of those lectures out of my handwritten notes and into typed form while revising them as I went, mostly. There’s still some work to be done on that class, but I got the broad outlines of my current thinking into them.

Of course, by the time I get to teach it again I’m sure I will have moved onto new interpretations. And there will be new material to cover, as time seems to march on regardless of my schedule.

If I ever have to teach my World History Prior to 1500 class again, there will also be wholesale revisions. The first unit will need to be gutted and reconstructed from the ground up, for example, but at least I have a good handle on how I would want to do that now.

All that is left now are finals. And finals are the easiest exams from the professor’s point of view, because I don’t have to hand them back. Which means I don’t have to put comments on them. The majority of my time spent grading exams is devoted to putting enough comments on them so as to a) explain to the students how they can do better and b) head off any complaints about how they did this time. Grading finals is so much less time consuming.

I spent most of the last few days trying very hard not to be sick, as I was pretty worn out by the beginning of the month and teaching is not like normal jobs where you can miss a day and not really worry about it. It’s all on you – substitutes don’t work at the college level – and it all has to happen on time.

But now it’s all good. The classes are done. I’m feeling reasonably well, having slept a bit. And I spent today doing non-academic things – running errands, getting my hair cut, having lunch with the 3rd-graders at Not Bad President Elementary (at Lauren’s request) which of course meant many iterations of The Evil Laugh.

I’m hoping to get back to blogging again, too. I’ve missed it.

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