Tuesday, December 02, 2014

gearing up for the end

My students finish up their team-teaching duties this week. Today, in fact: my Monday/Thursday kids finished team-teaching yesterday, and my Tuesday/Friday kids finish today. This coming Thursday, Friday, Monday, and Tuesday, I'll be at the helm again for the first time in, oh, fourteen weeks. It's been a good ride, overall; I think my kids have absorbed far more of the curricular material this way than they would have otherwise. They had to teach the material, which means they had to take ownership of it, and this encouraged them to organize and master it—at least to some modest degree if not totally.

So I'll be teaching a bit more traditionally over the next few days. For my reading/writing courses, though, I plan to add some games and other activities to keep the mental juices flowing. For my advanced listening/discussion class, I've told my students that I'll be giving them a hardcore college-level lecture, as would happen at a US university, and that I expect them to keep up, take notes, and prep for a meaningful discussion the following class. That takes us into Week 15. The last half of Week 15 will be devoted to final-exam review, then I'll be hitting all my students with final exams at the beginning of Week 16. The final class of Week 16 will be our jjong party (jjong is slang for "end of term"). And that's it.

My first semester at Dongguk has been excellent, but I still have to see how my evals come out before I pass final judgment on how well things have gone. If it turns out the kids think I suck, then that might hasten my departure from this fine institution. Why stay where I'm not welcome, after all, right? (And keep in mind that, when I was hired, I wasn't among the top three choices of Dongguk's hiring committee: I got in because I was #4, and someone in the top three decided not to accept a post here.) Interestingly enough, I've heard that the evaluation results, when they're posted (privately, of course), include a ranking, e.g., 17 out of 48 professors. This is a very Korean thing to do, but then again, I recall receiving a class rank when I was in both high school and college in the US. My inflated ego demands that I be in the top three, but I think such a result is very much in doubt, so I'll settle for being in the top five or ten. No teaching awards, this semester, for old Uncle Kevin.

After the exams are taken, it's the mad dash to enter grades. Along with that, Dongguk stipulates that we have to "upload a portfolio," which means scanning files, converting everything in PDF documents, then uploading those PDFs by a certain due date. Failure to do so in a timely manner will result in points being docked from our performance evaluation, so we're all at pains to beat the clock. The portfolio comprises tests, assignments, and relevant answer keys. I don't know why this is done or who uses these data as a resource, but them's the rules, so I have no choice but to comply. I'm still unclear on what we're supposed to do with our attendance records, but I imagine there's something in our gigantic faculty handbook that covers that contingency as well.

So! Final stretch. A couple lessons, a big test, some admin bullshit, and Bob's yer uncle.


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