Nose to the Grindstone

I’m still at the point in semester (as in before semester starts) that I’m just nervous. I know there’s excitement in there somewhere, but right now, I’m sure that I won’t get anything done, and I’ll get to the first day of class and have forgotten to put on my metaphorical pants that morning.

‘Course, it doesn’t help that I was in denial about the beginning of the school year until about a week ago. Summer lasts forever, and this summer has been long in comparison. “Endless horizon, time hurrying by,” as a great songwriter I know once wrote, and that’s particularly true when you start getting eighty-degree weather in May. We joke that summer is the day we play baseball, then we plan a whole year’s worth of stuff to put in that day.

So now is the time to knuckle down and get myself ready for the school semester. Due to updates, I can’t work on the online portion of my class (which is a lot of fun… like putting together a puzzle!), so I’m working on my syllabus.

The syllabus is a lot of scheduling, a lot of policy writing, and a lot of careful reading (now, I did put that assignment after the introduction, right?). I feel like a lot of it is unnecessary, but I know it’s not. I know that I don’t want to get into that situation and not  have the policy. I know I want to avoid the embarrassment of having the wrong assignment in the wrong place. I want to have everything in clear black and white so there aren’t any possible questions, and we’re all on the same page, literally.

I do know that the Syllabus is really only looked at the first day, and occasionally after that when someone can’t remember what’s due. The only important  thing to the student is the schedule. I also know that most of my students will lose their copy the first day of class and rely on the online copy that I post.

This is okay, especially if I have to change the schedule, something I did a LOT last year. And as long as I have given them a copy, I know that I will be okay whatever I have to enforce. Also, the syllabus is more like a guideline if there are issues… you can’t teach all 25 students exactly the same, and the policy may need to be stretched every now and then.

Really, I just need to take a deep breath, close Jewel Quest, and get to work. It’s nearly painless, and once it’s done, I’ll be far happier about the whole semester. I’ll know that I’ll have something to talk about on the first day, anyway.

But I’m writing a blog post instead…

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4 Comments

  1. Anna said,

    August 20, 2012 at 12:59 am

    I don’t think I ever gave quite that amount of introspection to writing a syllabus. But then again, I taught only music. Good luck! I hope you get it done and proofed in plenty of time.

    • broadwriter said,

      August 30, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      We have a very hands on Director of Composition, which means she’s there to help whenever, but it also means we all work harder to make her happy!

      Also, if it’s on the syllabus, it’s harder for a student to argue against me. ‘Course, if it’s NOT on the syllabus, it’s harder for me to make the students do it, ya know?

  2. August 19, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” — Alexander Graham Bell

    “Confidence is preparation. Everything else is beyond your control.” — Richard Kline

    I think that’s all I can say right now. Hopefully, that’ll be me in a few years, so I have no room to say much else…except maybe “good luck!” 🙂

    • broadwriter said,

      August 30, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      It really isn’t a terrible thing. And I finally gave up trying to make my schedule work perfectly and told them I’d give them a final draft later. No one seemed too worried about it. I got the final schedule to them yesterday, and they don’t have anything due until next week, anyway, they just had to get the readings done.

      If you ever want a hand with syllabi, let me know! I’ll be glad to send you mine for ideas, or look over yours if you want a second pair of eyes. You’ll make such a great teacher! *hugs*


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