Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Ah, yes, I remember it well.

Finals week brings out all of our hopes, fears, and quirks. I see the students struggle and remember being them. I remember doing so many of the same things and asking the same questions.

Will flash cards help? Um, if they're good flash cards. Not if you attempted to write an entire semester's worth of notes on five cards. (I still have the flash cards for my undergraduate astronomy courses.)

Will there be a curve?
Dude, the class average is an 81%! (I think that makes me the easiest physics teacher ever.)

What is my grade currently so that I can calculate what I need to get on the final to earn (insert grade here)?
I'll tell you, but don't you think it would be better so spend your time studying? I mean, it's a great time suck - feels productive and involves math - but studying would actually serve you better on the exam.

You professors just don't know how stressful finals are.
Sadly, I am more busy during finals as an instructor than I ever was as a student. (Let's see...I've written and have to grade four astronomy lab finals, two astronomy lecture finals, and one physics final.) Maybe I work too much now, or maybe I didn't work hard enough then. Either way, I'm glad I'm not taking the tests anymore.

(PS. A student brought me a homemade pumpkin pie this morning, still warm from the oven!)


Judy said...

"Will there be a curve? Dude, the class average is an 81%! (I think that makes me the easiest physics teacher ever.)"

Or the best!! But much better for them than the 32% averages WE had in OUR undergrad physics classes!!

Dr. Lisa said...

Oh, I know! I decided to design tests that resemble stuff I talked about in class and assigned as homework. :) I need to see if I still have any of those old exams, Judy, to see if they are as unreasonable as I remember.

A student brought me frosted sugar cookies today. I've just eaten some watermelon, but I still hear the call of the cookies! Gonna be a long day!

Dr. Lisa said...

Oh, my. I'm proctoring a final, and one of my students brought grapes, chips & salsa, and two dozen donuts. I'm eating grapes. (Aaiieee!!!!)

SarahP said...

Argh. Grades are due on Tuesday and I am so NOT inspired to grade the final. So totally not.

What if I just approximate the grades and see if any of the students call me on it?

Dr. Lisa said...

I'm slogging through finals myself, and I bet nobody's grade will be different post-final. Sometimes I do wonder why we do this to ourselves (and them).

Charly said...

pie, grapes, chips, salsa, donuts...

Looks like there WILL be a curve!

As for the students opinion, I'm suffering from PFS (post finals syndome) myself. I think the pressure of getting good grades is far greater than the pressure of giving fair grades. But don't quote me on that, 'cause I'll get in trouble.

Dr. Lisa said...

I'm glad that you survived finals, and I won't tell any of the profs around here to change your grades, Charly. :)

I find my stress to be as relentless at this point in the semester as I did as a student. Writing fair exams isn't easy, grading them and all of the labs/papers is time-consuming (partially self-inflicted because I'm a control-freak), all while trying to be accessible to students who need assistance. Whew. However, my efforts pay off with pie, cookies, chocolates, and thank-you notes. :)

Turned in grades at the community college. Now I'm inputting grades at the university. Almost done!