End of the teaching year

Flowers beside the Shahe River


Selling watermelons




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It’s the eve of my final class of the year, and I’m feeling nostalgic. It makes me sad that I may not see many of my students again. I’ve spent an entire academic year with them, and although the going has been rough for me personally, I’ve become very fond of them. I’ve grown accustomed to their faces.

My classes this semester were smaller than last one, with an average of 20-25 students attending. This must have been an optical illusion. When I finished reading the final papers and totaling up grades, I had assigned scores to 269 students. Whew!! That’s only about 30 fewer than Semester 1. My eyes are crossed after reading all the papers.

About 50% of the final essays were about Prison Break; the rest were divided between Chaplin’s Modern Times and Super Size Me. One imaginative student interwove all 3 films in one piece of writing.

Since we didn’t have the irksome “grading curve” requirement this semester, virtually all of the scores were between 88 and 92. However, I believe that it’s impossible to give a truly realistic assessment of individual ability or progress with such a large number of students.

Speaking of eyes, I now have two new pairs of glasses. For the first time, I have to wear “general purpose” glasses and it irritates me. I hadn’t realized how much my eyesight had deteriorated. I also have to carry both pairs with me constantly, and switch from one to the other. I almost wish I had invested in progressive lenses, but my experience with them a couple of years ago wasn’t very pleasant.

I allowed myself a “fun” night this week, and fixed an enormous plate of spaghetti with homemade meat sauce – my best to date – and plopped down on the couch to watch the musical Funny Face on DVD. Despite its sappy ending, it’s a gorgeous film to watch.

I’m slightly apprehensive about having the entire summer free, so I’m considering enriching my bank account by picking up a “summer camp” teaching job.

Tonight I’ll head back to the gym after a 6-week absence, due to illness and my neck surgery. My hair is long and unruly, and won’t lie down without tons of gel. I long for a buzz-cut.

Trees beside the Shahe River

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