Saturday, May 01, 2010

Schools out for summer... almost

I still have Final exams to make and grade, but at least classes are over. Whew! I don't think I've ever worked harder than this academic year. The Genji class was brand new so I had to start from scratch--re-reading each chapter, re-/reading secondary sources, drafting lecture notes, creating PowerPoint slides.

Beginning Japanese was another time consumer. I co-taught with another teacher and we split the duties: she was in charge of homework and special assignments--oral interviews, one short essay and a final one-minute speech; I took care of lectures, all quizzes and exams, and maintaining grades. We had quizzes twice, sometimes three times a week, and in case you're wondering, grading 45 quizzes takes me at least about 3 hours: correcting, grading, tallying points and recording grades. Also, since they put us in such small rooms and students sit elbow to elbow, I make two different quizzes in an attempt to discourage wandering eyes--I believe that a teachers should also be responsible for academic integrity by creating an environment that discourages cheating. In other words I was grading two different, albeit similar, quizzes. Fortunately, preparing for class was much easier as a colleague generously allowed me the use of her PowerPoint slides. I tweaked them to fit my own style/approach to teaching, but in general I used them as is and I think I would have died without them. (Memo: Send thank you card to TT.)

J-Lit in Translation was another time consumer. I hadn't taught it in a couple of years so had to re-read some of the material: I alternate books occasionally to break the monotony of teaching the same course each year, so it had been a while since I read/taught Enchi Fumiko's Masks and Kawabata's Snow Country. I also used the new abridged edition of Shirane's Early Modern Japanese Literature.

Indeed, since it had been over a year since the last time I taught J-Lit in Translation, I felt a bit off balance. Also grading three essays for 35 students was not a simple task--especially when you squeeze them in between the 45 quizzes that I always seemed to be grading--even if I did limit them to 1000 words. Oh, and I made new PowerPoint slides for this course so it was almost like teaching from scratch.

Interestingly, the easiest course I had this academic year was Bungo, perhaps because it's my favorite class... although many students will easily and roundly express their displeasure: It's too hard, it's too fast. Blah, blah, blah. But it's not, I retort. It's a state of mind. At which I am usually met with blank stares. *sigh*

In any event, I have Finals to make and grade, senior theses to read, and three commencement (count 'em, 1-2-3) to attend, all leading up to... summer school, which starts the day after commencement. Will work never end?

Just direct me to a pillow. All I wanna do is sleep.