Thoughts on Teaching – End of Semester Wrap-Up – 12/17/14
And so another semester has come to a close. I have not blogged nearly as much as I would like to, but I hope that changes soon. This was my second semester in a row of an unasked-for double overloads. While it may not seem like much to add in an extra 30 students over my normal single-overload semesters, that means more grading, more emails, more student issues, and more time.
My free time becomes less academically oriented the more that I have to actually work on my academic career. I have more time, I find, for blogging, reading academic newsletters and email subscriptions, and reading in my field, when I am not stretched to the limit on teaching. I was just catching up on my Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed newsletter subscriptions and realized that I had not read anything there since October, despite getting 3-5 emails a day. That means that I am behind by a lot, and yet I would like to look at each email I get there, just to keep up with what is going on. In fact, before deciding to sit down and write a post, I read through a week of the emails, meaning that I am still in October, but in late October versus mid-October.
I staggered out the due dates for material this semester, as I knew I had a lot of students to grade and a lot of work to do. My assignments for the end of the semester actually started coming in on the Sunday before the last week of classes and were staggered through the Thursday of finals week. So, while I was grading pretty constantly for about a week and a half, I was never under the big push of having everything needing to be graded in 3-5 days. In fact, if we had not had our internet service go out at my house from Tuesday through Saturday of finals week, it would have gone relatively smoothly overall. That added layer of complication made for a more stressful period, but, outside of those last stressful days, I can’t say it was a bad semester overall.
Now, I am winding down toward Christmas at home. In addition to being selected as Faculty Member of the Year at the end of last spring, I was chosen for the Jack Harvey Academy of Exemplary Teachers this year, which will come in late January. So, it has been an exciting year for honors. I hope also to make it to at least one conference this spring, as i try to get back into the academic side of things for my job. I would like to get back going with continuing education and building my skills rather than just trying to make it from one day to the next. Teaching fewer classes and students will help, as I will be down to just six sections this coming semester, topping out at 180 students, assuming all of my sections fill. I hope for more time with my work and with my family.