Friday, December 04, 2009


The Home Stretch

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are the home stretch. This is the time of the semester when most professors' and students' fuses are the shortest. (In administration, the late April to mid May stretch is the worst.)

It's predictable -- hell, it's annual -- yet somehow, it's always a little surprising. Like pain, it's easy to forget until it returns.

For students, this is when deadlines and reality hit. Since all the classes are on the same cycle, they all culminate at the same time.

For professors, this is when the grading starts to snowball, the student confrontations escalate, and the various end-of-semester deadlines loom. It's also time to prepare for the holidays. And it gets dark early. And cold.

I miss teaching, but this is the time of year I miss it the least. Oddly, it's also the time of year when having a teaching background is most important. This is not the time to go to anybody with a time-consuming request, or to bring up a controversial new topic. It's the time of year to shift to pure 'support' mode. There's enough stress going around without my office adding to it.

So, since I don't say this nearly often enough, let me just send some gratitude to all the faculty, t.a.'s, and staff who are among my wise and worldly readers. Your readership means a lot to me, and your daily work is what makes mine matter.

Hang in there! You can see the finish line from here...

Thanks DD! One more week...
Thanks very much for the acknowledgment...which I have no business reading, given the state of my to-do list! Blog break officially over...
Yeah, it is crunch time, but the flip side is that the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter. When things get bad I remind myself how few days left until classes end and I always feel better. :)
Back atcha, Dean Dad. Being blessed beyond measure, in my current gig, with great colleagues and a skilled, courageous boss, I know that what happens in the classroom happens a lot better, and with much higher frequency of success, when there are administrators who have our backs.

Dating myself by quoting "Hill Street Blues":

"Let's be careful out there."
Chocolate chip cookies. Everything is better with chocolate chip cookies.
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