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!

I had my first bout with cheaters this past weekend. Kind of soured the weekend, even though I can’t take it personally. Cheating bothers the heck out of me. Besides the idea of people learning to learn and enjoying it, it just makes me uncomfortable to have that dishonesty.

Cheating is a really bad idea. In the best case scenario, you leave a bad taste in the mouth of the person grading you. They may not be inclined to bump your 59.45 to a 60% (and a D-), meaning you failed the course. In the worst case scenario, you face major consquences. If being an ethical, upright person isn’t enough of a reason to not cheat, the consequences of cheating listed in your academic handbook should scare you straight. You can get kicked out of school in some instances or fail a class. The latter situation damages your GPA and possibly puts you behind in class. You may also have to retake the class with the same professor, who may remember you as that person who cheated.

In the situation of getting kicked out, that is a doozy to overcome. Don’t rely on what your friends tell you, that the school doesn’t enforce the cheating policy. It’s like drunk driving. Many may get away with it and get lighter sentencing, but you may encounter the people who follow the books. In your eyes, it may be unfair that you’re the only person who was punished, while everyone got a slap on the wrist, but the law reads how it reads. My school has a 3 strikes policy. Strike one, you get warned and fail the assignment. Strike 2 (which can happen any year, with any class you take), you fail the class in which your second cheating occurrence happened. Strike 3, you’re out. You wasted a lot of money and time to walk away with nothing. You may have also ruined your chances of finishing a degree, at least for a long time.

In short, don’t cheat. Believe me, I didn’t enjoy talking to deans on what to do or failing these students. It really can hurt you in the end.

I applied for an apartment on Thursday. The location wasn’t 100% perfect and it is small, but it will do for now. I always take apartments with a grain of salt. You can’t have it all, unfortunately. The important part is that it meets my basic criteria. I’m also glad to be finished with the struggle that is apartment hunting in Boston. I can’t imagine what apartment hunting in NYC is like, since I imagine it may be worse. Boston has a competitive market that is very expensive. Chicago apartment hunting was a walk in the park compared to here.

My Halloween plans aren’t much of anything. I get to grade :(. My firm final date for late labs was Wednesday. Not only is it a huge workload for me to keep grading labs from way back when, but it also not beneficial towards the students. They can’t improve their writing (in principle) if they receive no feedback whatsoever. I noticed, even when students are mad about lower grades on lab reports, they eventually become better writers if only for the grade.

Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone!

Today was my first stint being in charge. I like some parts of it, but I think I’m expected to check up on the labs (I stopped in twice for each one). That, coupled with teaching on Thursday afternoons, kills any kind of activity.

My boss is busy, so I run the lab setups for the intro, non-physics major classes. Since we all get along fairly well, it’s hard to keep people on task. I learned also everyone has different understanding of electronics, so some people are currently better at it. I’m trying to get everyone caught up. Electronics are not easy. With most of the labs they’ve had, there really is only one way to do them. Electronics can be wired differently, so student A’s circuit can technically produce the same results as student B’s, even if they are wired differently.

I think the TAs are somewhat happy with my leadership (I hope!). I helped change our grading, to make it clearer for the students and easier for the grads. I don’t think everyone is thrilled with me showing up occasionally, but I hope that they realize I’m not being distrustful or spying. If things go awry, obviously I will say something, but I can also say something nice if I witness good behavior :). It’s easier for me to tell my boss that everything is great if I can see that it is. If I see potential problems, I can also say something to everyone. Since we don’t get much training on teaching before we’re thrown out into the wild, I think it’s somewhat helpful if I can help everyone. I personally felt intimidated by teaching labs; I freaked that I wouldn’t know anything, that students woudl hate me, and that it would be a complete disaster caused solely by me. I wasn’t great when I began, but things became better when I learned little tricks and methods and my confidence grew. Although some of it people simply have to figure out on their own, I want to give the newer TAs help that I didn’t really have.

I hope our new system works out. I also hope that I can maintain healthy relations with my classmates. I’m not going to throw them under a bus, but I also don’t have a problem telling them where they went wrong or (God forbid) letting our boss know where they went wrong. I hope it never comes to that.