Another semester in the can

As of noon today, my semester is done – every last essay corrected, every straggler accounted for, and every grade calculated. Yay!
It’s been a strange semester. It began abruptly and unpleasantly, because the day after I learned that I had a full-time daytime course load, my grandmother passed away. This was less than a week before the term started, which means I was frantically getting course material together – and then the funeral happened on the second day of the semester. I taught my first course the day before the funeral with almost no preparation and while completely distracted, and had to call on a colleague to fill in for me on the day of the funeral, so I missed Day 1 with two of my classes.
I felt not quite on track for about a month, and I never really felt at ease with my first group.
On the other hand, my 101 course worked really well this term. In the winter term, the 101 groups tend to be volatile. The students are in an Intro course, but it’s the second semester – which means either that they failed the first time around, or they’re starting their first year halfway through. Either way, these groups often feel not quite right. In fact, although there were 27 students registered in my course right up to the end, nine or ten of them stopped coming to class altogether by the last month of the semester. The group that remained, however, was enthusiastic and did some great work.
Next fall, for the first time ever, I don’t have a 101 course. I’ll be teaching two sections of my genre course on Formula Fiction and one theme course for Liberal Arts. I’m pretty happy with this assignment, although I am a little concerned about the 2009 winter term, and whether or not I’ll have enough CI (the calculation of my individual workload) to have a complete year. Not only does this CI matter in terms of salary – if I fall below a certain CI, I get paid rather a lot less – but also in terms of tenure. The 2007-2008 year is the first full year for me at this college, and I need another one to qualify for the next level up the ladder.
Wake up!
Anyway, right now I’m focusing on making some minor adjustments to the Formula Fiction course (I taught it this winter and it worked very well, so the adjustments are really very minor) and making some major ones to the Liberal Arts course. I’ve been collaborating with the teacher who gets the Liberal Arts group in the following semester*, and we’re coming up with some really exciting ideas. We may also be plotting a coup, but that’s the kind of thing that happens when you plan courses while under the influence.
If you made it this far in the post, you get a reward – my new favourite student essay typo: according to one student in my Formula Fiction course, Bridget Jones is “in a retaliation ship” with her boss.
Admit it – don’t you sometimes feel that you’re in a retaliation ship?
*Incidentally, this is the same angel who came to my rescue at the beginning of the term when I was in funereal dire straits. She is officially my favourite colleague EVER. 😀

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