Sunday, February 24, 2008

looking ahead

We begin the final week of term on Monday. Hard to believe how time flies-- seven weeks is all too brief. I've been teaching four classes; three have had fairly consistent attendance, while the fourth experienced a plummet early on, then stabilized (much as happened last semester with my second class of the day).

This week, it's all about the hectic mess of projects and presentations, final exams, and jjong-parties (i.e., end-of-term parties). I normally cook for my best students, who are almost inevitably the students in my latest class (last semester was an exception; the 7:40AM class ended up having incredible attendance). This means dragging ingredients and cookware to and from school on the last two days of the week (some classes end on Wednesday, others on Thursday).

It also means evaluating projects, administering and grading tests, and getting everything tallied and sent to our office by Friday afternoon. Luckily for me, that latter part is easy: I slap all grades into a Microsoft Excel file and the calculations are done automatically thanks to the formulae I've plugged in. I created the original Excel file in 2005 and have simply copied it over from semester to semester, varying the formulae according to whatever grade distribution I've chosen for a given course (quizzes 15%, midterm 15%, final 20%, etc.).

So the week will be a busy one... and just now, it occurred to me that this is the last semester I will have seen through to the end. How sad. Next semester, I'll be leaving after six weeks of teaching (the spring term runs 11 weeks), and someone will be taking over for me around midterm time. I don't envy them that job; the students will have gotten used to a certain rhythm, and the teacher might not like the way I've set the course up. I'm telling myself that it doesn't matter: I'll be gone; Smoo will no longer be my concern (at least, not until I'm back in Korea).

Ah, that reminds me: I'll need to leave my successor some instructions regarding my Excel file, my textbooks, etc.-- final prep before I shuffle off this mortal peninsula.

The horizon beckons.


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