I really like teaching, but I need to do something about finals. Forty-six students this semester. Seven pages of final. Nearly 350 pages of grading to do in the next week.

The dean wasn't too thrilled yesterday when I mentioned that I should cut the class down to 25-30. To get classes for all the folks I cull, they'd have to hire an entire new humanities professor.

On the plus side, in my annual review I always bring up Whitman's policy at founding... professors got the tuition money for the classes they were teaching. So, roughly $45K for 32 credits a year. We'll figure that there's significant financial aid and only $1000/credit is real. Roughly 100 students a year, four credits each, $1000/credit. I should be making $400,000 a year! Higher tax bracket, here I come!

Unfortunately, my logic hasn't worked on the people in payroll yet.


Published by


y'all know who I am.

2 thoughts on “Finals”

  1. You have no means of obtaining grading assistance, correct?

    I had grad student conscripts for finals and midterms for the 250+ student class I taught, and undergrad graders for regular assignments. The only way I could manage to turn things around in a reasonable time-frame, and I would still take a double-share of the exams and review the work of everyone else.

    If you can propose some reasonable means of paying junior/senior astro majors to help grade the more straightforward parts of your exam, that might be a productive conversation to have with your chair or the dean. Not sure if that's possible in your school environment, but it's not totally crazy on its face.

  2. No, no grading assistance. It's one of the unspoken rules that professors will be the only ones evaluating students. So I have lab TAs, but they aren't technically allowed to grade. And my senior and junior astro people are pretty crazy busy this time of year. I model my 300-level courses (which is as high as we go) off a lot of my grad courses without dumbing them down too much, so they're kind of going crazy studying without saying "hey, can you do four or five hours of grading."

    If they were grading, I'd want them attending class too so they'd have more insight into why students are answering the way they are. And that brings in all kinds of different scheduling problems.

    The real solution is just to cut down the number of students. When I get frustrated enough, that's just what I'll have to do. We're cutting down the incoming class size for future years, something like 400 instead of 450, so that should help a little with the enrollment pressure. (There's also the issue that I have a really hard time saying no when teary eyed students ask to take my class.)

Comments are closed.