Friday, June 29, 2007

I must be crazy

This last week I got an email from my department chair saying that he just found out that a class that starts on July 12th (the day after I turn in grades for the 2 classes I am teaching now) needs an instructor. I must be insane because as frustrated as I have been with my current two classes, I said that I would do it.

This one is a 4 week course, instead of a 6 week course (like I am teaching now), which means that I will teach this one class for 3 hours a day, 4 days a week. That is an hour shorter than I am currently in class. Plus I decided that it won't be nearly as much work to prep and grade for one class whereas right now I am doing that for 2 different classes.

I guess I will just hope that a few weeks from now I am not completely regretting my decision.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The end is in sight!

I have only 8 more days to teach these two summer classes. Well - 8 days spread out over the next 2 weeks, that is. I am so excited for the summer session to draw to a close.

For both fall and spring semesters, I taught two college algebra classes each. I thought it was very interesting that for each semester I would have one class that was very mature and accepted the fact that college classes are more difficult than high school, whereas the other class would complain about practically everything. I was given the impression that is how it is when you teach college algebra. Another reason that I was very excited to teach higher level classes this summer.

I just have to say that I am experiencing the same thing this term with my statistics students. One lady in the class was upset from the very start about the cost of the various required materials. She said that she had never had to buy any materials for any other class (not even textbooks) and there had to be a way around buying a book, access to the online program where they do their homework and a graphing calculator with statistical functions. She was very unhappy about needing the access code and the calculator and said that she would get through the class without the calculator. Since when do students think that the only expense associated with going to school is tuition? When she was unable to do 25% of the first test, she walked out of my class and never came back. Apparently, it is more cost beneficial to lose your tuition money for not completing a class than to buy an $75 calculator.

Now I have had quite a few students complain about the speed at which we are covering material in the class. Forget the fact that I pointed out to everyone at the start of the term that we would cover as much in one week for summer term as in 3 weeks in a regular semester. In fact - I had to point out to the students today that the attitude that they have in the class is not appropriate and if they feel like we are moving too fast it is only because this is a summer term class. I could tell that some people loosened up after my little speech, but a few left class and came back with drop slips for me to sign.

I feel bad that some people decided to drop the class and lose their tuition for the term. But at the same time I feel super frustrated that some of my students seem to blame me personally for them underestimating the difficulty of the class.

My calculus class on the other hand is much more mature. Even though the class overall does worse on tests and quizzes - they accept the fact that I teach the material and it is their responsibility to learn.

Add to the frustration of the statistics class (which is so sad because I love teaching statistics), the fact that I am averaging working at least 45 hours a week and I am only paid for 16.5. I can't wait for this summer session to be over!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

3rd anniversary

And yes - it has been a happy 3 years. :)

Yesterday was our 3rd anniversary, but due to the amount of work I had to do for school our celebration consisted of Justin picking up some Chinese food and flowers on his way home from work and then after dinner, I wrote a statistics exam. Fun stuff, right?

So far today I have worked on my handouts for my stats class, written the exam for my calculus class, and taken it up to the school for copies. All I have left to do for the evening is grade some quizzes. Maybe we will have to pretend that today was our anniversary instead. :)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

What a week!

This past week was my first week of summer classes and it was a killer!

In a normal semester, I would be in the classroom teaching these 2 classes for 6 hours a week. For a summer session though I am in class for 16 hours a week. I know that partly it is just that I am used to working part-time, but right now it is killing to be in class for 4 hours a day and then spend 4-5 hours a day preparing for upcoming classes or grading. It will be even worse this week when I give a test in each class. You also have to keep in mind that I am only paid for the time that I spend in class so all of my prep time and grading time is time spent without compensation.

I guess that is really the thing that makes it so difficult for me to deal with how much I am working right now - who likes to work when they know that they aren't getting paid for it? The funny thing is, I wouldn't have even noticed quite how much extra work it was to teach two different classes at once if I were teaching them during a regular semester.

I guess my big complaint here is - if they are going to work me like a full-time employee then they need to pay me like one.