Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Glad It's Over

I'll be honest, this has been one of the WTF? kind of semesters. As most of you know, I am an adjunct history instructor at two community colleges here in ENC. I generally teach three or four classes per semester, all online, and mostly American History Since 1865 with usually one class of American History to 1865 thrown in. I actually prefer the earlier time period, but have somehow gotten pigeonholed (especially at one college) into the later period and can't seem to get out of it. At least I don't have to teach World Civilizations anymore.

At any rate, this semester has been very strange, particularly at one college. I had a regular, 16-week American History I class, but also a late start, 10-week American History II class. For those in the late start class, it was kind of like taking a summer session because it was about the same length. Those classes are usually a bit harder than regular semester long classes because you are cramming the material into a shorter time span. Both of these classes however proved to be challenging for me. In the American History I class, I had a lot of withdraws. This is to be expected and I usually lose about 20-25% of what I start with. In this class I lost 33%. On top of that, the grades were slightly below the normal class average (lots more Bs and Cs, as opposed to As and Bs).

The real doozy however was the late start American History II class. I only had 20% withdraw from the class, but that number should have been much higher. I handed out more Fs in that class than any single class I've ever taught (5 out of 20). That means 25% of students who stayed in the class failed, leading me to the inevitable WTF!? I'm chalking it up to a group of students who wasn't disciplined enough to keep up with the work and probably got in over their heads. Still, it makes me glad the semester is over. I hope summer session goes better than this.

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