December 18th, 2010


On The Last Day Of Finals...

Grading Continues

My exam grader has informed me via email that the Finals and the last quizzes are now graded -- I'll get them Monday. Yay! That's one nagging worry I can forget about for a while. Sometimes I don't hear from graders for a lo-ong time and it makes me very, very nervous. The hard deadline is Noon on Tuesday -- that's when they shut down the online grading system to start processing Fall semester grading.

And On To Spring 2011 Semester News

Back during the summer, my boss told me he didn't have any classes for me for the fall, but I'd have two sections of the first semester Physics for scientists and engineers, PHYS-2050, for Spring. That was going to be my Sabbatical 1.22. But in fact I did end up with a Fall PHYS-2050 section, so four months of writing didn't happen. (grin)

For the regular semester it's best, given the economics of my long commute, to teach two classes. I agreed to one for the Fall because (a) it kept some money coming in, (b) it gave me a class to teach (!) and a reason to come down to the office (!!) and (c) I was expecting to teach two courses in the Spring. Alas, when contract letters came for Spring, there was only one section. At least it was the 1pm and not the 9am, as I currently have. While a nine o'clock is much better than an unholy eight o'clock, especially in the wintertime, it still has me leaving the house just about the time that Mrs. Dr. Phil is getting up -- and we do like to see each other on a regular basis.

Tuesday my boss said some things were changing and was I up for adding back the 9am section as well. I said sure, though it would be nicer to get a 10 or 11am class. I figured it wouldn't hurt to mention that. Well, there's that adage about the squeaky wheel...

An Upper Division Class

So then it was mentioned that if I was interested I could take the 10am PHYS-4400 Electromagnetism class. Oh well now there's an interesting thought.

Pretty much since I began teaching, I've been doing the introductory Physics courses, including the "third semester of the first year" Modern Physics course, at both Hope College and WMU. Twice I've taught upper division classes -- half of a math physics course at GVSU and a special Solid State Physics course for two zoomer seniors at Hope, using Kittel as a textbook. That last was in 1997. So (a) it's been a while since I taught an upper division class, (b) yes I was interested and (c) it isn't the graduate level course out of Jackson. (evil grin) That last point would be lost on most of you, but suffice to say that while I could probably teach the lectures for a Jackson-based class, there is no way I could do the exams, homework or grading. It's been too long, the materials are really tough and it's too short a notice.

But on Friday, I got an email from my boss wondering if I'd be in the office on Friday or Monday, as he had a revised contract letter for me, and I said I'm here now. And a few minutes later he came upstairs and dropped off the letter.

So... I DO get to teach two courses in the Spring and I DO get to teach a fun new course. (As opposed to teaching PHYS-2050 for the 21st time.) Ten registered so far, a typical load, about 1/3 of the names I recognize from first year courses without even doing a search of previous classlists -- all juniors and seniors. Already arranged to get a desk copy of the textbook shipped to the P.O. Box, rather than languishing in the university's mail room over break. (crafty grin)

All in all, a very pleasant way to end Fall semester's finals week. Now, back to grading papers...

Dr. Phil