Kaddee’s Cairo Chronicles


May 9, 2009

Stress springs eternal

Filed under: How it works — Kaddee @ 12:12 pm

Especially at this time in the semester!

I *should* know better/have learned by now….and yet, in the inimitable words of my hubby, “I spend my life lurching from one crisis to the next.”

The end of the semester is always stressful.  Students are cranky and have already checked out for the summer.  Grading MUST be done quickly so that student grades can be submitted before summer deadlines.  Committees and departments are trying to wind up all their projects before everyone scatters for the summer.  And THIS year, I am attempting to tie up loose ends with the course I’ve been coordinating so that I can hand it over, get ready to participate in a panel discussion at an international colloquium and prepare to leave Cairo for good.  Needless to say there is a bit going on.

On the student front – I’m nearly apoplectic about my students right now.  They have been working on a semester long paper, in installments, that is due TOMORROW.  They received their marked last installment last week for incorporation into the final draft.  Half of the class has not even looked at the mark-ups yet!  Two of the students FAILED the installment and have to COMPLETELY rewrite.  They seem to have simply gone on break early.

Some friends and colleagues try to remind me that I am not personally responsible for the students’ grades – they make decisions and their grades reflect their priorities.  I know that, but I also really want them to succeed.   Contrary to popular (student) opinion, I (and professors, in general) do not gain any pleasure by submitting low or failing grades!

On the department front – I’ve been working on getting an assessment plan outlined.  Just a “small project before I leave”.  The department has been reticent to obstinant about the entire process.  “We did that in 2004!!!  Why are we revisiting this??”  I HAVE managed to get a student exit survey in place, but any form of legitimate programmatic assessment at the course level is being actively blocked.  Oh well – Malesh

On the colloquium front – I’m actually excited and glad to be doing this, just not NOW.  Some colleagues and I will be presenting at the international “Building the Scientific Mind” colloquium here in Cairo this coming week.  We will be discussing the changes that we have been making in the course that I coordinate.  It is a good networking and CV building experience, and I think we’ll actually learn a lot and have fun!  But I’m in prep-phase right now, which is decidedly NOT fun.

Last and CERTAINLY not least is the “moving BACK half-way around the world” front – this was a royal PITA the first time.  We have less stuff now – all the furniture belongs to AUC, we have no vehicles, few(er) books etc, but we STILL have to sort, sell, pack, ship and otherwise DEAL with all the stuff!

Jack is in Excel/webpage hell right now – trying to sort, categorize, photograph and post all our “For Sale” stuff.

I’m in paperwork hell.  I am dealing with AUC and all the forms, attachments, scheduling and other logistics.  Considering that AUC sends, at least some, faculty home EVERY SEMESTER and has been doing so for 90 years, the process could sure use some updating and streamlining.  (And perhaps a straight-forward set of instructions!!??)  [sigh]

I shouldn’t be surprised by the process, as the process to come over was EVEN LESS well-defined.  Ahh malesh, ed donia kiddah.

2 Comments

  1. I think I’ve heard this rant before….or at least a variety of it….every year since you began as a TA at UNH! Some people are doomed to worry. Sorry about that.

    Comment by Mom — May 10, 2009 @ 1:41 pm

  2. Kaddee….your mother is soooo ….accurate! You are lucky to have such a great Mom. Sarah, thanks for the moment of clarity.

    Comment by evil twin — May 14, 2009 @ 10:23 am

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