The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chew on This

Posted by Seeking Solace |

I made the bold decision to take two PhD classes this semester. This is in addition to teaching my online class and trying to find a job either full time or teaching more than one class. My thought process at the time was that since I had taught the online class already, the bulk of the work would be done. I have 95% of the lectures recorded (I added three new chapters that need audio). I have all of the assignments ready, except for the semester project which I have almost finished the revision. I figured that the bulk of my time would be devoted to grading, thus allowing me to pursue a second class.

What I did not plan for was that 33 students would register for my online class.

So far, 30/33 have logged in and completed the first week's assignment. The course is at capacity, so I am not worried about any additional students adding the class, because I am not letting any additional students in the class.  With drop/add ending on the 24th, I am expecting that I will have between 25-30 locked in.  That number will continue to drop during the course of the semester.

My concern is that assuming that I end up with 25 students to start, that is a ton of grading. I had 25 last semester and it was just that...a ton of grading. I was able to keep up with it, while juggling my one PhD course, but I am not so sure if I can manage with two. One class is with the same professor I had last semester. I like him and know the way he rolls with his course. I could manage my teaching and coursework just fine. However, my second PhD class is very demanding...four exams, two papers and a presentation. The instructor is awesome. But, she made it very clear that there is a lot of work for this course, particularly with the readings.

My thought is...have I bitten off more than I can chew?

OK. some may say, " are home all day, surely you can find time to get the work done. And that is true, except for it takes me a little longer to read because of my visual disability. I become tired quite easily if I read for a long period of time, despite using some tricks for reading academic materials (It''s pretty much like reading law stuff). Also, I do read what my students submit. I do take a critical eye to their work and give them constructive feedback. I would be doing them a disservice if I didn't. Finally, and I can't stress this enough, I don't want to eat, sleep and breathe my PhD program.  I did that in law school and it sucked.

So, I am considering dropping one of the classes. My gut is telling me that something isn't quite right, even though it's early in the semester. I would rather get out now, than be in a situation that negatively impacts my job or my studies. Or worse, like my health.  Of course, there is that voice in my head telling me that my anxiety is just that...anxiety. It's early in the semester.

I have until Friday to make a decision.


Nitewriter said...

Check out Grading Made Fast and Easy on Amazon. A lot of my colleagues are using this and the profs in writing-intensive classes especially have cut their grading time in half while being able to provide more personalized feedback. Just type in the title in the amazon search box. I've taught as many as 5-6 graduate composition classes at the same time and still not spent more than 20 hours a week teaching/grading. And my students get lots of substantive feedback. Good luck!

Seeking Solace said...

Thanks, Nitewritter. Unfortunately, it is only available for Kindle, which I do not have. I am trying to find it elsewhere on the 'net.

Miss Dazey said...

Just now reading this post. I saw on Twitter that you dropped a class. Wise decision, stress and overload not good for RA. btw, don't have a Kindle, read via Kindle app for PC and iPad.