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.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Papers Over Tests

It is amazing to me how easy it is to fill the time when teaching a class. For the first time since I have been teaching, I have done away with a final exam. I learned that I was not required to give one, despite what is written in the course catalog. To replace the grade, I am requiring students to write a paper critiquing a speech. That’s a post for another time.

As a result of my move, I have additional class time to teach. First, I traditionally have given the test on the last day of the semester. If I am not giving a test on this day, it is another class session that can be added to the time I have to teach. In addition, I am not setting aside anytime for a review, so that is even more ‘extra’ time.

Still, it seems like I am cramming as much as always into the same amount of time. And, much to my amazement, my students simply ask (almost every class session) if they can get out early. Certainly they should know by now that is not going to happen. The only time it does is on speaking days when , through no choice of my own, all speeches are finished early (either because some were short, some students were not there, or in the rate case, all speeches and evaluations have been given and there is some time left over).

I guess, maybe it is a lot like owning a house. When I lived in an apartment I had all sorts of stuff and the apartment was overflowing. Still, it was not until I moved into a house and was able to get all the stuff our (some moved, some thrown away) and think, ‘Wow, I actually managed to get all that stuff in my apartment’! Now, I look at the course syllabus and think, ‘Wow, I was actually able to cover all that stuff in one semester’!

Hopefully my students get something out of all this and don’t just feel like everything is crammed in so tightly that they don’t learn. I certainly do not believe that to be the case, but it is a challenge.