Plan A: Make a Plan

The new semester is about to start, and I am ready. More or less.
I tend to be among the first to order text books, prepare course packages, and submit course outlines. I respect deadlines. I like to know that the “big” prep is taken care of, and that I won’t be frantically making copies ten minutes before class begins, or trying to find texts to work with for two weeks while the bookstore tries to track down my last-minute order.
(All of this is notwithstanding unforeseen and uncontrollable issues, such as being assigned courses after the deadline to submit orders, or publishers who discontinue a text but don’t inform their customers, or unscheduled machine maintenance at the printshop that takes two weeks… all of which I have experienced firsthand.)
I also spend about a day planning the schedule of major assignments for each course, from which I reverse engineer the reading schedule, and then the quiz schedule, and so forth. This is actually one of my favourite parts to getting ready for the term – I can see the whole semester, planned and precise, and I feel ready. I know where we’re going to be by the end, and the path to get there is clear.
Here’s where the “more or less” comes in…
It’s usually right after I plot the semester, and have that little glow of readiness, that panic sets in – what did I forget? Is there a ped day/holiday/scheduling glitch that I have overlooked? Is there some personal commitment that I have now scheduled a heavy correcting load on top of? Have I scheduled too much? Not enough?
The next wave of panic comes along about then, when I try to figure out how to cope with the first two or three classes (I am convinced I have written about that minefield already, but I cannot find the entry…) and stay on schedule, as opposed to doing next to nothing for a week and a half and then playing catch-up for the next fourteen weeks.
And, as usual, the final wave of panic – how to keep the semester on track despite all the other things I’m trying to juggle? Things are winding down with one project, but I’m submitting my research proposal today for my M.Ed., which means (fingers crossed) collecting and analysing data this semester, and then there’s the Liberal Arts curriculum project – I love this project, but so far it keeps getting pushed back onto that back burner by things like cegep a distance and major school change. This semester, though, it has to be front and center.
I’m ready… more or less.

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