To supplement my summer income, I’m also helping out with placement tests at the community college where I worked during the academic year. The job was entails administering placement tests, as well as talking to the new students about college.

I didn’t expect this job to be so interesting. Administering the tests, not so much, but talking to them- I learn a lot. The questions are basically designed to help the students start thinking about what being in college is like and to receive subtle guidance from the interviewer if they seem to have incorrect ideas. It also gives an opportunity to the students to ask questions and just in general, feel welcome.

The students I talked to all were warm and excited to start school. None of them, thankfully, thought college would be easy. They all seemed interested in being good students and had good ideas how to succeed. I hope they keep that in mind.

I hope to always keep a pulse at this school; there are tough days, but overall, the work is satisfying.

I’m proud of my students; most of them actually appear to have taken to heart my advice on studying. Most students passed their finals with Bs or As. Not bad at all, considering some of them were not A or B students in this class. It was a pleasant surprise to say the least and a great way to end the school year. I don’t think I can emphasize enough how much I dislike giving a student a failing grade, even when that is what s/he earned.

Even though I’m iffy about teaching next year, I’m already thinking about what to do. Thinking about the advice another professor at the school gave me (don’t do more work than the students do), I’m considering not assigning homework formally. As most people know, the odd numbered problems have some kind of answer. My students typically don’t do homework (this is par for the course), and when they realize it’s a part of their grades, they do a rush job that is more about credit than understanding. I’m not anti-grades, but I’m more pro-learning than anything. My reasoning for considering this is that the students who want to learn and grasp the material will, they can check answers without consulting with me, the homework thing won’t hurt those who are super busy and may turn it in late, and it creates less work for me to grade something poorly done. I’ll still give quizzes, so they won’t totally be devoid of feedback. However, I am strongly learning towards this model.

Has anyone ever done a quiz/exam/attendance only for grades? I’m torn, but I also come from a world where homework saved my behind and I genuinely worked hard on it. The student population I work with is different (homework ended up hurting everyone’s grade, even those who did well on exams), so I have to figure out something that works for them.

You know it’s the end of the year when the tutoring center has people show up and suddenly, you get to tutor everything. I tutored for about 2 hours today. I did physics, calc, and English.

Since final grades are due Friday, I have a lot of work ahead of me. My math students are taking their final now as I type this entry. My physics students take their final tomorrow and Wednesday. I’m more or less set up to just grade the final and then have the final grades done. There is some leeway, but on a whole, I feel most students have performed consistently throughout the semester. I don’t look forward to the grading; I used to not mind grading so much, but there is always so much to be done.

Although I enjoy teaching, I’m looking forward to the summer. It looks like I have employment (I have to do one last interview/talk with some people this week, but my new advisor basically told me that the job is mine). The pay isn’t amazing, but it is indeed enough to get through the summer. I’m also looking at other small ways to supplement my income.

In terms of next year with the school, I hope to teach one or two classes. Since I’ll be a full-time student, I can’t swing a lot. However, I want to stay actively involved with everyone here. I enjoy the environment a lot, and I’d like to become a better teacher. I’m not sure if I could ever teach full-time (I’m hoping to do more education research), but I think that part of me will always like teaching. Besides helping guide people in their education, I like that teaching helps keep things fresh in my brain.

We’re in our last week of classes; next week is finals.

It’s hard to believe that we’re almost finished. In some ways, this is scary, since I kind of have a summer job. I haven’t accepted it, but without any prospects, it looks like I will be. The pay isn’t great, but some income is better than none. I’m still looking at ways to supplement my income, so hopefully I find something soon. On one hand, I’ll have somewhat financial security come August/September, but I still have to weather May, June, July.

While I did have an overall enjoyable semester, I look forward to summer break. Partially because getting up at 6 AM to ensure I arrive at school by 8 AM to teach is draining. I’m not a morning person, and waking up so early on dark, dreary days is difficult. I look forward to a bit of a later start.

In terms of next semester and teaching, because my classes are night classes, I will try to teach one or maybe two classes here. Besides the extra income and keeping a strong connection, I genuinely enjoy my job. The pay isn’t the greatest (this is adjunct work), but I’m lucky to wake up (even if it’s dead early) and work with people I genuinely like and respect. My coworkers are really interesting people that I like to socialize with on the office level. My students are challenging, but there are moments when teaching does feel worthwhile.

If I don’t post much this week, you’ll know why. I’m up to my nose in grading. Final grades are due about 2 days after I give my last final!

My current job has no need for additional adjuncts during the summer, so I’m off to find another job. While I’m not surprised (I’m the lowest ranked person in the office, I believe), I am disappointed. I like teaching, and I hate searching for employment. The economy is still rough, which means that jobs are scarce. In some ways, this job search is more difficult than my previous one, because I don’t want anything permanent and won’t take a permanent job knowing that I’ll quit in a few months. In my opinion, you shouldn’t burn bridges with any company. You never know who knows whom.

I have some applications out, but I haven’t heard anything back. I haven’t been waiting that long, but waiting is difficult. While I’m only going to be temporarily unemployed, it is bothersome, because I can always use the money and more importantly, I can start planning on excursions and/or dance stuff. I’d like to finally treat myself to a good, decent length vacation, but without a job, I’d rather not spend the money.

I feel very lucky to have a job. I feel even luckier to have job I enjoy. Granted, I don’t enjoy every day. Teaching is difficult, because- well, I’m a rookie, and I think students are always students. We have cheating issues, deal with motivating the students to come class and do work, etc.

Every year, the school has a technology competition where student and faculty teams participate in a few events. This year they put together circuits, built little cars, and had built bridges prior to today that were supposed to hold lots of weight. Very cool things. Today was one of those days I realize how great my job is. Environment is HUGE factor for me when it comes to work. I’ve had very boring jobs that I adored because of the people and jobs that were identical that were awful because of the people. The environment I work in now is very good, particularly today. The energy was fantastic; the students were genuinely excited to be there, as were staff.

And it was all voluntary. I had offered my students a bit of extra credit if they participated. The ones who did follow through did well; they won one of the competitions and put their all into it. The staff was there by choice as well. I chose to be a judge rather than a competitor. I feel like it was a good decision. Competing looked fun, but I really loved taking in the amazing interaction and seeing the teamwork, as well as the students who came to watch. The community is truly wonderful, considering that the school offers mostly 2 year degrees and is highly commuter.

I hope to stay involved with the school in some capacity as long as I’m in Boston. As I was telling my SO, I know they aren’t perfect, but they seem to do a lot of things right.

Yesterday we sat around talking about how awesome a snow day would be. We didn’t think it would happen, but sure enough, Boston Public canceled classes. Since we follow whatever Boston Public does, we had off too. The cancellation is hilarious, because the weather wasn’t nice but we weren’t pounded with snow the way a lot of the Northeast was. Actually, I’m not sure if it snowed a full inch today.

Even though I had plenty to make up from being sick/taking care of my cat, I had a rather relaxing day off. I still have some work to do, but I’m glad to have the leisure time to get caught up rather than just feel like I’m treading water. Being sick sucks. Having a sick cat sucks even more. If you were wondering, he is eating bit but mostly being force-fed. He still have jaundice, but they don’t anticipate seeing that go away any sooner than tomorrow. He’s obviously not in good condition, but the vet says that he’s not doing terribly, all things considered.