Earlier this week, I finished grading final exams for my face-to-face teaching assignments for the spring semester. This was the first time that I’ve taught in a physical classroom since fall 2010. I’m glad that I was offered the teaching assignments because they were a lot of fun. I’ve been offered further teaching assignments for this coming fall and spring 2014, all of which I’ve accepted and I eagerly await. However, a made a minor miscalculation in my preparation for getting back into the front of the classroom – I didn’t realize how much time and effort I was going to have to spend on grading my students’ work! As you might imagine, it was a bit of a shock to see 250 pages worth of student papers sitting on my desk in early February waiting to be graded. Believe it or not, it was relatively easy to get over that shock and move on to the next grading assignment or classroom prep work that I lined up for myself. That’s why I call this a minor miscalculation.
Yet, I did make a major miscalculation both this semester and last semester…
For my longer-term readers, you may remember about a year and a half ago when I wrote that I was ready to get back into the classroom as a student in my pursuit of some additional higher education. I kickstarted that process about a year ago when I applied (and was accepted) to a post-master’s certificate program in curriculum studies. My first class started in September 2012 and it was a bit of a shock for me since I hadn’t taken a class in two years. Yet, much like getting over the shock of seeing my students’ papers sitting on my desk waiting to be graded, I quickly got over the culture shock of sitting in a classroom and being assigned homework and papers to complete. This process was helped, in part, by the fact that I opted to take a hybrid course. This is a course that meets once every other week with some online interaction in between. If hybrid courses are delivered correctly, they are a much better, much more efficient method of delivering higher education – and they work for me!
My major miscalculation, though, was the homework that I was assigned for the course that I took this past fall. And though it seemed like a lot during the fall, the miscalculation really came into play this semester when I had a five way battle going on. The warriors in that battle were my obligations to my professional office, my obligations to educating my online students, my obligations to educating my in-class students, my obligations to operating my two small businesses, and my obligations as a student with homework to complete. Remarkably, I managed to meet all of these obligations. If I lightened up on meeting any of them, though, it was those obligations as student in the post-master’s certificate program. Without question, I could have spent more time digging through the readings for the class I was enrolled in. I could have spent more time finding additional sources to support my arguments in class. Granted, I received an “A” in the class, but I think I could have been more effective as a student if I had more time to focus on the readings and the lessons we were discussing.
I write this entry as a method of displaying some humility. Even with the meticulous planning and plotting that I do in my financial life (and soon to be other aspects of my life), I still managed to overlook a massive component of going back to school… homework!