Friday, July 20, 2007

Last Stretch of Summer Teaching

Until I finish my grading this summer, I'll be absent from this blogging environment. At least another week remains of the summer session. One of my classes has ended; two others won't finish officially until next week. I'll have that weekend to finish the grading although I'm hoping to get through my essays earlier than Saturday or Sunday.

Those people with regular jobs know when to report to work and how long to remain at work. Online teachers like me have some flexibility in our schedules because it is possible to sleep till noon or work through the night. It is even possible to make time for family by going swimming or seeing a movie. Afterwards, no matter how late it might be, I still have to return to my computer if there are essays to grade and to return to my students.

It has been especially hard getting through my grading this summer. It seems like it never ends. After I have returned one set, I have a day off before I get another set to slog through. Unlike most semesters, fewer of my students dropped my classes. I expected a fifty percent attrition rate in two of my classes; the attrition rate was more like twenty percent.

If it is any consolation, I can say that I like my job sometimes. One benefit occurred on July 4th at the fireworks display on Fort Leavenworth. Arriving a few minutes before the fireworks started, my wife and son and I set up our chairs on a hill overlooking the lake. Just as I sat down, the person next to me told me that he was one of my students from a few years ago. He even called me by name. After all that time, one of my students still recognized me from when I used to teach onground. I love those moments of recognition. Another instance happened a couple of years ago when I encountered one of my former students at a game store. As he was ringing up my purchases, he found a way to give me a copy of the Hulk video game, either the first or second one, free of charge. He apparently liked me as a teacher. What more could a teacher want, other than a full-time job, of course?