20 October 2007

The bum end of the semester

Well, we're coming up on the bum end of the semester -- a rotten time for students who have lots of assignments due, and a rotten time for teachers who have lots of marking to do. My marking looms over me like a spectre. When I want to write, I think about my marking. Marking hangs over everything. Really, I should just sit down to do it, but this week I don't have much. I have a few late assignments, and even a couple of early ones, which is a surprise. Next week, though, I will be eating, breathing, and sleeping marking. I've had years, when I've had big classes, where I finished at 3 am the night before I had to hand it back, and then got up again at 5 just to make sure it was all done. But I try not to manage my week like that. Partly I've managed to reduce my end-of-semester load by pulling some of the word limits down by making some of this work due earlier. It's all a matter of time management.

As a 0.4 teacher, I get paid 3.15 hours of marking and preparation time a week. In all likelihood, next week I'll spend more than 20 to 30 hours marking. So it really is a matter of doing it bit by bit. But to compensate I'll have the long stretch over summer with no marking. If I'm smart, I'll use this prep time to make a big leap into next year's preparation, especially as I look likely to be teaching a new subject: Poetry. (Well, new for me.) Some of my friends teach the same subjects every year. Some teach new subjects every year. I must say I fall more into the first category. I am one of two Editing teachers, and coordinate the subject. And Novel makes a great counterpoint. I've taught a few other subjects along the way (though none put me out of my comfort zone like the one over in Liberal Arts did last year -- but that was a great experience in its own way). I think Poetry will complement the other two nicely and am quite excited about teaching it.

It's always more work teaching a new subject, but offers me a boost in other ways. The extra prep keeps me up-to-date with something I might otherwise have let slip. And makes me get back into the practice of it. For example, I haven't looked at any poetry theory for a few years. Now I'll be digging out my texts, and even better will have an excuse to go out and buy some more books! Yay.


Snail said...

When I received the first year essays, I told myself that I would do a small amount of marking each day, so I wouldn't end up working on 50+ of them on the last weekend of semester.

Yeah. Right.

Sherryl said...

And if you're teaching poetry, you will be doing the exercises with them (it's fun, and it adds to your own writing, and you can see if something doesn't work very well). So you'll be writing lots of poems.
Yes, that's why I like teaching different things - I can go back and refresh and find new stuff that makes it enjoyable for me.