The summer term draws to a close …
Because the summer term is shorter than the fall and spring terms, it's more intense. Classes have 12 weeks to get through 15 weeks' worth of material. At least I'm not at a university where the work is packed into eight or (gasp!) four weeks. Still, even condensing the term by three weeks makes for a more intense experience.
Making matters worse is that this has been a rough time for both instructors and students. Some of it has to do with economic woes – both institutional (state funding being cut) and personal (unemployment and underemployment are rampant among my students). But it's not just about the economy. In just my department, four colleagues have died unexpectedly this term. And many of my students are going through various sorts of turmoil – illnesses and injuries, relationship problems, deaths of loved ones, and more.
Last year, as part of efforts to alleviate possible H1N1 outbreaks, the college issued each instructor with a bottle of hand sanitizer and a box of tissues. But it was a very small box and didn't last very long. This term, I brought my own, jumbo-sized boxes of tissues – one to keep at each of the campuses where I teach. Now I'm nearly out of tissues; my students and I have used a lot of them.
So, this week is the last week of the term, and I have my students working on their portfolios, so I'm not buried under papers to grade. Friday will be intensive portfolio grading; then I will enter grades into the computer system, and then I will have two weeks off before the fall term begins.
And if you hear an enormous sigh of relief coming from the Southwestern U.S. late Friday afternoon, you will know it's me, looking forward to that breather and hoping I won't need so many tissues next term.
Labels: desert, new mexico, observations, teaching, work