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Well, if nothing else, last semester was certainly a learning experience for me! Among the things I learned:
~Jen Asimow is right about the return from sabbatical–the first eight weeks or so of the semester feel like (and might actually be) the best teaching you’ve ever done;
~Planning changes to your teaching (as in changing everything you do–from course design/conceptualization, assignments, texts and so on) is better done piecemeal (maybe one or two courses at a time) rather than wholesale;
~If you do decide to make wholesale changes, it is probably best NOT to make said changes at a time when you are not teaching and have oodles of free time, lest you become delusional about what you can actually do and keep up with;
~I was delusional when I made my teaching plans for last semester, hence the gradual trickle to almost nothing in terms of posts in November and December;
~Over the years, I have found that students are pretty apathetic about receiving a “Zero” for an assignment. They often respond with a shrug. Last semester, I began applying a penalty (-1 point) for NOT turning something, anything, in by the due date. I couldn’t believe the reactions I got. They were freaking out, and many of them made sure not to miss another assignment. The endowment effect is real.
Other things I learned will hopefully trickle out this semester. What did you learn last semester? Hopefully something. If not, no worries–another semester is upon us! And I have piles of reading, saved up just for you, and maybe, just maybe, a wee bit of excitement. Until then, welcome back to the first week of spring semester!
Monday, 1/5: School is closed for coldness!
Tuesday, 1/6: Registration (unless all the pipes burst or something);
Wednesday, 1/7: Registration
Thursday, 1/8: Registration
Friday, 1/9: Registration
Saturday, 1/10: Registration