Friday, January 22, 2010

This has been a pretty good week. And that's a relief, because it is the first real, full week of the semester...the semester which, you might recall, was supposed to be light-years better than last semester, which was in the toilet (to put it mildly). And if the rest of the semester goes approximately like this week went, then I think this academic year will redeem itself.

I'm busy, but pleasantly so, not to the point of feeling overwhelmed. I love love LOVE my Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, where I have several hours of work time in my office at school. This Tuesday, I actually got to participate in some of the on-campus events for a job candidate, one whose interests intersect with mine a bit. I mean, I realize that's the kind of stuff a PhD student is supposed to do, but last semester, my coursework and teaching load and home duties didn't allow for anything extra.

The real boon this semester is the enrollment of my classes that I'm teaching. I teach two sections of the second sequence of composition, and the classes are capped at 20 students for first-year GTAs. That's nice of them to limit the enrollment like that, but 40 papers is a LOT to grade each time, and 40 papers x 4 writing projects + daily activities + lesson planning = Jana going crazy. So I was hesitantly optimistic when I noticed that my enrollment at the beginning of the semester was relatively low, and I grew increasingly happy and more nervous the closer we drew to the last date to add classes without an instructor's permission (yesterday). Now that the date has come and gone, I can speak the wonderful news aloud: I have a total (TOTAL) of 22 students enrolled. Ten in one class and 12 in the other. Oh, happy day! That's half the grading! HALF!

Of course, a little voice in the back of my head is whispering "perhaps the word has gotten out that you're a horrid teacher," but I think the truth of the matter is that I teach early in the morning, a rather unpopular time for many students, and my second class conflicts with a big, required chemistry course. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

In addition to my teaching, I'm taking a grad seminar, which is my Last Class. I'm also working on my comprehensive exam lists, and...hey! WAKE UP! I know, this isn't terribly exciting, but some of you must be interested in what I'm doing, right? Hello?

Fine. More adorable kid stories coming soon. Geez.


M said...

There's no way you're a bad teacher :)
I like to think that the universe makes up for sucky quarters with awesome quarters. It's not bad evaluations, it's karma!

momdadtig said...

i'm interested. this may seem like a crazy question, but since you're writing about classes...... when will you be COMPLETELY done taking classes? what approximate month and year will you finish a class and say, "I never have to take a class again as long as I live unless I want to!"?

more importantly, the picture (I want one)is ADORABLE and I love those monkeys, too.

mom t.

Accidents said...

Low enrollment=the best thing ever. You shouldn't feel guilty, as you can be an even better teacher if you have less students. Hoping for low enrollment is not bad either. You'll be less stressed, as the students will get more attention on their writing than they would otherwise. Having spent one semester with...cough...110 students I was responsible for grading papers for, I can say that more students=I don't GET to fully learn names, I don't GET to care as much.

And congratulations on being in your last seminar! That's huge!