Spring Term

1 Apr

Spring term starts tomorrow and I honestly expected to have some type of emotional reaction but I don’t. There is neither excitement nor a sense of loss. There is the feeling that Spring break was too short. I didn’t complete as many house projects as I had hoped but that is normal. I felt Summer break was too short last year so I can’t expect a week to be enough. It has taken me longer to get the basic documents ready for the term – syllabi and assignment sheets for each of the 5 classes. One class is only the 1st four weeks of the quarter and it is followed by another that runs the last 6 weeks. For the 1st one I have copied last year’s assignments to the current sheet and adjusted the page numbers. For the follow up class, I have not yet opened the textbook. Hopefully I will before the class starts. There doesn’t seem to be the same sense of urgency.

Spring term will be the last that I plan to teach face2face in a regular college classroom. Two of my classes have an online section as they did last year, but they are part of the face2face classes. I may teach fully online in the future but it won’t have that daily routine impact of getting dressed, going to campus, and then engaging students for at least an hour. The advantage to online is that instructors, like students only need a computer and an internet connection, any where, any time and in PJ’s if they wish. It should work well for those of us who would really like to have our work day completed by 8 AM. My concerns are that I can’t depend on the same elements I’ve used in the past to judge student learning. I will no longer have that sea of faces that nod or frown to set the pace. Fully online will be a new adventure in learning.

I mark milestones in my life and I do consider retirement a milestone. Maybe teaching this last term hasn’t produced an emotional response because it really doesn’t signify a milestone and won’t until I no longer mark time by a school calendar.  I never considered that retirement wouldn’t really be a single date on the calendar but a gentle shift with lots more free time. Now, why am I thinking about online teaching?


3 Responses to “Spring Term”

  1. gramajan April 1, 2012 at 10:54 AM #

    “There doesn’t seem to be the same sense of urgency.”

    A case of spring fever?

    Retirement doesn’t have to mean stopping everything you’ve been doing for many years–it’s more a change of pace, with you more in control of your schedule. If you enjoy teaching, then online teaching sounds like a good transition. Who knows–you may find yourself teaching face to face again, but on a volunteer basis in your new home town. The local library would probably love to have computer classes available, for instance.

  2. compterteach April 1, 2012 at 11:25 AM #

    When we were there in July, the mayor’s wife said she understood I was going to be teaching computer classes at the library which would be that change of pace and hopefully fun.

  3. nhowardwenatchee April 1, 2012 at 7:33 PM #

    Not marking time by a school calendar will be a change you probably won’t notice until you realize it’s the first of October and you are not standing in a classroom. It’s an unusual experience my husband and I, life long educators, only felt once, when we were on sabbatical. We knew when the first day was and celebrated being over 3000 miles from those classrooms. We will feel it again in a few years. Changing a 60+ year habit will be wrenching–we hope in a very positive way.

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