The end of the semester always hits me as a sudden stop. I go from the constant, frenetic scramble to prepare for class and grade assignments to few imminent deadlines and fewer set schedules. Work still looms and I still have jobs to apply for, but I find the schedule change abrupt and disorienting—particularly when the first involved teaching five classes and the second includes a snow-day and an imminent winter holiday.
Still, it occurs to me that I have fewer than three weeks until the cycle starts up again, and reflecting on what just happened is the first step in preparing for what comes next.
My reflection from this semester is simple: five classes are too many. That’s it, that’s the Tweet.
For no other reason than hoping to earn something that resembled a reasonable salary, I picked up one bit of teaching after another until I was teaching distinct five classes, three of which were functionally new, grading for another, and grading for an online class. I taught five days a week at two campuses a half an hour drive apart and basically gave most of my evenings and weekends to keep up with the prep and grading and, even then, needing to cut corners and falling behind in every class. In short, I taught none of these courses to my satisfaction.
This is not to say that these courses were catastrophes. They weren’t. Each had bright spots — an exercise, a reading, a class discussion — just that I was stretched too thin to give each class the attention it deserved.Discussion of individual classes after the jump