Thursday, March 23, 2006

Alert the Media!

I'm actually sitting in my office at 9:30am. It certainly isn't the first time, but it is the first time in a loooong time. I got up early today with the plan of driving to my parent's place (about an hour or so away) to take care of some things, but those plans are on hold. I debated for about 20 minutes whether I should try to work at home or come over to my office. I need to be here for a meeting in the afternoon followed by class. The debate consisted of one pro and one con on each side:
Stay home- Con: Probably won't get much work done, Pro: Easy access to lunch
Go to office- Pro: Will likely get work done, Con: Probably vending machine lunch

So, I decided to choose work over food. If I get bored working or staring at my office walls, I'll probably walk over to the Student Center and grab a sandwich (*fingers crossed that I actually have some cash on me*).

Class Tuesday was interesting. According to the syllabus, the students were supposed to have an exam on Tuesday (cruel scheduling an exam immediately after spring break, huh?). Well, a couple of weeks ago there was an equipment failure in the classroom and I couldn't show the video I had ready to go and I didn't have anything else prepared, so I cancelled class and bumped everything on the syllabus back a day. I made announcements for 2+ weeks and posted on the class website that the exam will be pushed back a day. And still, apparently that didn't reach everyone because class was more full than on any other lecture, and there were clearly a number of students who I haven't seen since the last exam. It always amazes me that there are some students who only show up for exams. I can't imagine that they do well. I remember when I was an undergrad I would cut class on occasion. But generally I wouldn't cut any one class more than twice in a semester. Then again, I was a goody goody.

Speaking of students, do you ever have those students who are so sweet and nice and interested in the material, but they just can't seem to get it together on the exams? There is this one guy in class who comes to my office hours and asks intelligent questions. He comes up after class and asks for clarifications on the lecture. He admits to actually reading and enjoying the textbook. After class, I've seen him talk to his classmates and help the ones who need help (for example, on Tuesday he moved some desks out of the way for a girl who uses a cane). He even offered his notes to a girl who had missed several classes and didn't know anyone in class. This guy tries so hard, but his exam grades just don't reflect it and it breaks my heart. I hope that if I end up at a small university with manageable class sizes (no more of this 400+ student classes), I can create assignments that can better assess students' understanding and not just their ability to memorize and spit things back on an exam.

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