Another semester is in the books. I taught my last class of the term this afternoon then went home and submitted final grades to the registrar.
All in all, it went exceedingly well. Of my 13 composition students, only 2 failed. Neither of them failed because of any lack of comprehension or skill, really; they failed because they didn’t adequately demonstrate that they had the comprehension and skill and, as all teachers know, knowing something isn’t enough; you’ve gotta show us you know it. These students didn’t do that; they were content to rack up zeros all through the semester and that torpedoed their final grades. I took them both aside and told them as much, and they both copped to having been lazy this term. Hopefully, they’ve learned a lesson they’ll not have to repeat.
My lit. students didn’t fare quite so well. Nearly half of those students failed; three out of eight. I had two A grades, one C-, two Ds (and one of them was a gift) and four Fs. Of the three, two of them just never came to class and one of them never turned in any work – including the mid-term exam. That girl was a favorite of mine in class, however; she is an energetic thinker who contributed some of the most exciting comments to our discussions. I took her aside and told her how much it killed me to have to record her failing grade. She’s better than this, I told her, and I KNOW that – and she does, too. She admitted to having a lot of distractions in her life this term and I suggested that she try with me again in January. We went to the registrar’s office and signed her up for next term’s lit. class and I’m really hoping she’ll keep up.
It really was a great semester. With one or two exceptions, all of my students were cooperative and enthusiastic, they worked to their potential, and most of them showed some appreciable improvement. Really, what else can I ask for?
I’m done for about three weeks. I intend to take some of that time for housekeeping and holiday preparation, I’ve already set aside some for connecting with friends, and I’m hoping to sneak in a couple of “do nothing” days for myself. I’ll certainly do some planning for next term, too; I want to review some new material for my lit class (I’ll have at least the one returning student) and I’m teaching a hybrid composition course that I’d like to have mostly mapped out before I get to the first class. I’m never confident about teaching hybrids – the online portion of it always makes me uncomfortable – so I’ll take any advice or suggestions any of you have to give.