Still . . . grading . . .

Tonight at the grocery store, I ran into a student who mentioned casually that he was looking forward already to his spring classes.  Normally, I’m equally enthusiastic–after all, next semester’s hypothetical classes are, almost by definition, more interesting than *this* semester’s weary, played-out classes.  That’s true for any given semester.

But what the student didn’t grasp is this: Our last finals were Friday.  Grades aren’t due until *this* Friday at 8am.  From my point of view, then, this semester ISN’T OVER!  We’re not on break until the 28th at 8.01am.

Two or three years ago, someone at the system office apparently decided that having grades be due *before* Christmas was too convenient and helpful.  So they pushed back the start of the semester to after Labor Day, with the usual consequences for the rest of the semester.  I simply can’t grasp the logic.  I’d start in July if it meant having grades done by Christmas.

(I’ll save for another fall the stupidity of having no break at all from Labor Day through November, until a 5 day break for Thanksgiving (Wednesday to Sunday), and then coming back for 2 weeks of classes before finals.  How energetic and focused students and faculty are in those last two “rump” weeks I’ll leave as an exercise for the reader.)

On the plus side, I guess, the stress helps me keep off holiday weight!

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6 Responses to Still . . . grading . . .

  1. Tom says:

    It doesn’t help keep the weight off when you’re engaging in displacement activities every 10 minutes in proximity to the Christmas cookies.

    My grades are in; we’re going to DC for a few days and I kicked those lab reports’ butts.

  2. jbj says:

    Well, sure, lab reports . . .

  3. Alex says:

    Wow! Sick burn! I think….

  4. Jason says:

    Nah–just envy!

  5. Tom says:

    The junior chem majors’ lab reports tend to be 8-10 pages, but yes they are easier to grade than the term papers.

    This is the last time I’m letting them turn in lab reports at the end of the semester though. I’m thinking of going to a research group model where we all meet and each student gives updates on their projects. Maybe we could even meet on Saturday morning like more than one research group I knew in grad school.

  6. jbj says:

    I agree about the end-of-semester problem. Because this semester I was, um, slightly disorganized, I ended up giving everybody until the last Friday of exam week to turn stuff in.

    This was not, you’ll be shocked to learn, the most successful strategy of all time!

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