Sunday, April 29, 2007

Deep Sigh of Relief

What a wonderful couple of days.

  • Grading 500 pages of exams.
  • Parading as a "spear carrier" at graduation, and seeing several of my hard working students move on to the next step in their career.
  • Learning that quite a few of my former students graduated from Wannabe Flagship Engineering School this semester, several with high honors.
  • Getting the lawn mowed.
  • Entering final grades while in my pajamas.
  • Fighting massive traffic around town, knowing that it heralds a 10 to 20% drop in population that will make it much easier to get into restaurants.
  • Finishing up paperwork for the year.
  • Being glad I don't have to commute across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco.

Now it is time to start thinking about the summer semester ... and next fall when I shift to a new textbook.

Memo to newbies:
It is never to early to start thinking about your fall syllabus. Engineers have the concept of "as built" plans: After you finish building something, you put together plans that show how you actually built it. I use the notes on my "as taught" syllabus to create a draft pacing plan for the next time I teach that class. You can't believe how much that helps. My job in May is to map the details of a new textbook onto that draft, while the big picture is still in my head, so there is less to do in August.

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