Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Trying to Wind Down the Summer Session

Summer session at the two community colleges for which I teach is almost at an end. This is the roughest semester I've had in a long time, at least from an administrative standpoint. The students, with a few exceptions, have been pretty good. I, on the other hand, seem to have lost at least half of my mind. Summer session is always a little harder than a regular semester. You are basically teaching the same course in half the time. Fall behind on grading assignments and you feel like you're digging out of a never-ending foxhole to get caught up. There are other issues that add to this.

1. The colleges operate on different calendars. I've spent most of the summer confused about where my classes actually are. It's so ridiculous, even if it seems simple.

2. Even though I am trying to teach a class in half the time it would normally take, the colleges always take a one week mid-summer break. And, of course, they take their breaks on different weeks (see #1). I think they take this one week break just to make things that much more difficult on the instructors, but maybe that's just my opinion.

3. My final issue is of my own making. One of the colleges for which I teach, runs four separate summer sessions (an 8-week session, a 10-week session, and two 5-week sessions). So, when I set up my class this summer, I set it up based on the 10-week schedule. Problem is, as I just found out this week, it was supposed to be an 8-week class. So, my grades are supposed to be turned in this week and my students still have three regular assignments and their final exams left to complete. My supervisor has given me a way out of this situation and has said not to worry about it (basically, "shit happens"). I find it very disturbing, however, that my normally highly organized, detail oriented, German brain has failed me this time.

Here's to a quick end to this summer session and a two week break until fall semester begins. Hopefully, I can regain my normal sense of direction before embarking on another academic odyssey.

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