Monday, November 25, 2013

Exam week

The next time I step into a classroom to teach, it'll be December, and barely a week and a half will stand between me and baggage claim at JFK. The first term is over, every final paper has been graded (except for the unsubmitted one, but that's its own problem), and I've got until next Saturday to make of this week what I will. And what a week it's been, and has still to be.

The end of term 1 was smooth and generally satisfying. The cookies went over extremely well in both classes, and one section clamored for my own answer to some Big Philosophical Questions and applauded when I finished my little tirade. I don't miss them too much yet, though I might when my new classes begin next week; mostly, I'm filled with a sense of relief. If I bumbled my way through those first three months and the kids enjoyed themselves, the next term can only be better. Here's hoping I can fix some of the first round of mistakes and prepare myself for the second round.

But class can be at the back of my mind of a little while longer, because we're only just approaching the middle of exam week. We didn't have a week like this at Hopkins, and it turns out that it's totally awesome - besides proctoring study halls and a few exams, we are basically free to do as we choose. I was on duty over the weekend, but my freedom is slated to include:

- at least two Downton Abbey marathons (one already completed)
- at least five kinds of pie (with more to come on Thursday)
- at least one trip to the movies (Hunger Games sequel; last night)
- at least two baking adventures (these today and the old family gingerbread recipe later this week)
- at least two Thanksgiving potlucks (the big all-faculty one, and a more intimate Thanksgivukkah bonanza about which I am impossibly excited)
- various and sundry other culinary pursuits, from burgers to department lunches to faculty charity dessert sales

BASICALLY it's been a great week. No lessons to plan, no more grading to do, and the biggest challenge is how to fill the time with activities hopefully both productive and leisurely. So far, so good. Does blogging count as productive?

It's not like we're totally on vacation, though; Glee Club is preparing a new song for our concert next week, and I'm already turning my lesson plans over and over in my head as we approach the start of term 2. Until then, though, we teachers can breathe for a few days, and my thoughts can start to turn to December. The first four months of the big adventure are winding down, and though it's suddenly already time to start considering commitments to The Future, there's plenty of merry-making left to be done before I have to make any big decisions.

Thanksgiving and the accompanying celebrations around the corner; expect extensive photojournalism centered primarily on food. Until then, I'll be here, eating more cupcakes.

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