At 2:32 pm Friday I clicked “submit” and sent my last set of grades to the registrar. The academic year’s end always prompts reflections, big and small.
- For the past month I’ve been going to bed at 11:00 waking at 5:00 to read emails, grade papers and projects, work out, and otherwise get a jump on the day. The last few days I dragged, fueled with caffeine and fighting a low-grade cold. My last exam was Thursday, two sets of grades were in, another was 99% complete, the fourth was underway. Judy told me to go to bed early and get more sleep. I followed her good advice, retiring at 10 pm. At 4 am my eyes opened. I was awake–middle-of-the-day alert awake–and knew better than to fight it. I got out of bed, read emails, graded papers, biked, and met friends for coffee, all before 6:45. There was no extra sleep then or any night since.
- More students than usual seemed to be sick with colds, sore throats, and other ailments that feed on lack of sleep. Maybe I noticed their condition because I shared some of the symptoms. The SMG building can be a huge petri dish, home to varied and various viruses, germs, bacteria, bugs, and unnamed cooties, and we all spend too much time within its walls. It’s like summer camp for airborne diseases.
- Grade complaints have been down. (A friend responded to this news with “must be grade inflation.”) There have been a few legitimate inquiries but, so far, no one has said “I really needed to do well in this course. Can I do an extra project to raise my grade?” I’ve received no emails or phone calls from parents. I would like to think this is fruit of the transparency and fairness of my grades. I would also like to think that students actually read the syllabus and assigned material. I’m told a healthy fantasy life is a sign of mental health.
- Last fall I very carefully plotted out project and paper due dates for all of my courses to avoid a pile-up at the semester’s end. Wading through the enormous clot of projects and papers over the past few weeks I wondered how a schedule that was so smart last December became so stupid five months later. I’m sure many students shared this sense of wonder.
- Every April I think my courses need to be revised; this year they need major, put-the-ship-in-dry dock overhaul. Free Culture, Code 2.0, Who Controls the Internet?–gone. Jennings Real Estate Law 8th Ed–gone. In both electives I need new cases, outlines, assignments, the works. I’ll be using the 5th Edition of the Beatty and Samuelson Business Law and the Legal Environment Standard Edition. One hears of of teachers (not SMG colleagues, I must add) who, year after year, use the same syllabus. I cannot imagine what that would be like.