Friday, December 17, 2010

Free at last!

The hardest part of this job is the bi-annual end-of-semester crush. And... it happened again, despite my best plans.

Unfortunately, it has become a regular event. Unlike several of my departmental colleagues, I give final exams and require final revisions on my students' plays during the exam period. During this same period, my department gives individual student evaluations, where each student receives first a written and then an in-person assessment from each faculty member who teaches them in our department. The in-person ones are given by the entire teaching team at once; so we meet on one day, for example, with all our senior undergrads, and then the next day with the juniors, and so on.

This means that in a little more than a week, I led three assessment teams for three grade levels including 12 seniors, 12 juniors, and 22 sophomores--while writing my own assessments for all but 7 of those students. My job before the meetings is to collect, collate, and distribute the written evaluations; during, to keep us on time and focused; and after, to follow up with any probationary requirements.

Oh, and I prepared, gave and graded one final examination, collected and graded one research paper, collected and graded 18 short plays, and met individually with my 8 senior playwrights with notes about their plays. And met with a search committee.

All in 9 days, last Wednesday to yesterday! Breathe the free air!

The main problem is that no matter how I plan the time, it is too fast, too much, and picks up stray events and charges that make it tougher. This year, I planned a little better and had food in the house to cook and eat, which meant that I wasn't existing on a diet of coffee and fast food. That's a situation full of disaster for my moods and stamina. The house goes kaplooey, my errands go to mush, and everything piles up.

Fortunately, the evaluations went off without a hitch--except for two young men who didn't show.

The exams, papers, and grading went well, although the middle one took 24 hours too long (our Registrar starts sending nasty notes after 48 hours if your grades aren't in, then the phone calls begin.... apparently they have nothing to do in that office!). But the students actually ended with the grades the earned--which surprises them but is usual for the way things work. I did have several students who pulled their class grades up as much as a grade level--which was superb!

The meetings went better, leaving me now to email my written notes to each student, an easy enough task, once I get organized for it.

And, surprisingly, I got lots of errands done this week! I visited the Tax Man and got old back taxes figured and in to the IRS, which will make for a sizable refund. I put in and got back all my prescriptions for the month. I got my car registration and new license plates for the DMV. I took Jack to the vet and got our flying certificates. And today I plan to visit the bookshop and sell books, the consignment store and sell clothes.

More to do, but my holiday begins now!

1 comment:

  1. I just finished up my grading yesterday, and it's such a relief! The end of the semester is such a hard time, but it feels great to dig out from under all the work, at least for a little while. I hope you have a fabulous break!

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