Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Our Instructions

I still have some time before the start of the next semester, although not as much as I might like to believe or actually have. Still, the campus is sending out information about the upcoming semester. Traditionally they remind faculty that if there are classes the day before a holiday, we are obligated to teach.

I am actually okay with this but somehow it seems I am one of the few. If there is class scheduled by the college, I plan something for that session. If the last day of class is a Monday and by the previous Friday all students have completed all of their work, I still hold class and tell students they are obligated to be there as I will take attendance. It seems though that I am in the minority. The question is, is everyone else wrong or am I just foolish for playing by these rules?

We are also reminded that the first session sets the tone for the semester and students often view this as a class where all that happens is; the instructor introduces him/herself to them, hand out the syllabus and assign the textbook. Personally, I think that is a full session. I take the time to go over my syllabus, which is very detailed. Students who miss the first class or add it after that session truly miss a lot. I don’t think there is anything wrong with just doing those things on the first session. I do, however, think that teachers need to be detailed in the introduction so students know what to expect.

For me, that usually fills the entire session (Unless I am teaching a three hour course, in which case I do more than that). But, I think this is perhaps the most important session for students to attend. Of course, if they attend this one, they will learn how strongly I view attendance and thus know they should not miss class for the rest of the semester unless they have a real good excuse.

And still with this attitude, I can have students nominate me for instructor of the semester (click here to see that post). I know this does not really fit here, but I did warn readers I would be looking for excuses to link back to that post.