Last Day of Classes

A

nother semester done. I always thought that life would get easier as I got older, but it turns out to be the opposite for me. It seems that every year seems to get harder. Teaching is nothing like it used to be. I guess with all the budget cuts and limited funding and shrinking endowments, schools have to tighten their belts. As a result, we have to teach more courses and more students.

Four courses is pretty heavy, especially when you consider that I have to teach lecture courses without the benefit of a TA. I could, of course, assign only a midterm and final, or worse, a paper and a final. Grading would be limited, but I really feel that students don’t learn as much because basically they are not getting any feedback with regard to their progress in the course.

Stupid me goes the other extreme. In my advanced Japanese course, they have a quiz virtually every class meeting, so they have had 23 quizzes this semester. A quiz usually consists of two excerpts to translate and a vocab section of about 10 words. On vocab quizzes, there are usually 20-24 words. There’s also an optional midterm. Of course, I also have my Bungo–literary Japanese–course for which there is a weekly quiz and a one midterm. In the Lit in translation course, the workload is two short papers, a midterm, three creative assignments, one presentation and two poems for our Heian Japan-influenced poetry contest. I really feel like I’m always grading.

But the semester is over and “all” I have to do is grade finals. *sigh*

Oh yeah, I’m also doing a directed reading and a senior proseminar. There is not so much grading, but there is a bit of preparation…

Anyway, I can’t wait for winter break, so I can return to Xanga again…

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