Light…tunnel…end of…going into! The light!

My last class for this semester was today. I’m done with the teaching part, now all that’s left is the dry, husky, tedious, boring administrative part: final exams and grading and the passing of final judgment on the efforts of my students. I get to become a mindless bureaucratic drone unenlivened by creative thought for a little while.

Anticipate continued incoherence, with light and scattered posting for a while. But there is hope, and none too soon.


  1. Alex says

    Is that a light at the end of the tunnel….or just a freight-train coming your way?

  2. MicroZealous says

    On behalf of myself and serious students everywhere, my compliments and gratitude to you and all dedicated educators. Your efforts on this blog also enlighten every day. Wish I was your student.

  3. Laurel says

    My last classes were also today. I’m done with the teaching…for good. Having recognized the futility of trying to improve my creative writing by getting a PhD in English, I’m bailing out of academe altogether.

    After this round, I’ll never have to read a freshman paper again. I’m starting to feel a bit giddy, and do crazy things like post to science blogs I’ve mostly lurked on for many months.

  4. Pablo says

    Ha! I am done with finals, grades are done, AND it looks like I am past the whining about grades stage, even. Shoot, I even have my door open and am answering my phone today!

  5. Derek says

    I’m a student, but luckily I just had my last final today, so I’m officially done with college. Now I get to work for the rest of my life. Hooray!

  6. TrekJunkie says

    I decided, in my omniscient wisdom, to have a SHORT essay question in the final evolution test. Students, all 57 of them, have complained all semester long about not been able to express how much they know about the topics in multiple choice exams.

    Needless to say, I’m not as omniscient as I originally thought…

  7. Student says

    It’s against university policy to give exams during the last week of class. Just throwing that out there.

  8. Plastic Flag says

    Hey PZ- try my grading method: a glass of cabernet for every 10 papers. It works like a charm! That way, you turn your boring bureaucratic drone into a gentle inebriate haze.

    It beats grading papers NOT drunk, anyway.

  9. says

    I’ve been over this quite a few times: it’s against university policy to give a final exam in the last week of class. It is acceptable to give a unit exam, however.

  10. Lana says

    All this academia talk is making me quite wistful. I did college and law school at night while working and raising a child. So I never had the “real” college experience. Oh, well. Probably, like working as a dancer on a cruise ship, it sounds better than it is.

  11. Naked Bunny with a Whip says

    Tunnel of light? So you’re saying that grading finals is similar to having your brain starved of oxygen, and you do this twice annually?

    This explains much about my time in college.

  12. Steph says

    I hope you will find some time to post about the Platypus DNA findings that are on all the front pages today.

  13. Darby says

    Have you found a significant uptick in absenteeism? Our whole campus has had a serious case all year. Hoping it’s an anomaly and not the lead end of a trend.

  14. MAJeff, OM says

    Just finished grading research reports. Calculate and submit tomorrow, and the semester is OVAH!

  15. Peter Ashby says

    Pah! I bet they are going to PAY you for doing that huh? Back when I was a lowly teaching fellow they only paid us for 9months and our contracts had finished when we were sat there grading exam papers. There I was not being paid to wince at the bad grammar and missuse of affect and effect (can’t have been in MY tutorial group this one) when I could have been being not paid to write my thesis.

    Well at least I had my Trophy Wife(TM).

  16. Science Goddess says

    I actully LIKE grading exams. The answers are so original! They bear no resemblance whatever to the material I taught. Such as in the photsynthesis unit: What color are plants and explain why this is so. One student answers “blue” Gotta love it!

    I also have to resist giving extra points for honesty, when a student answers “I don’t know” isn’t that worth something?

    I grade tests while watching Star Trek reruns, makes the time go faster.

    This summer I have microbiology in the evening: 6-10:30 4 nights a week – Friday off. It’s a marathon.


  17. Xavier says

    “An administrator is someone who, upon seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, orders more tunnel”

  18. says

    Science Goddess in #22: Is the “blue” student color-blind? One might have hoped he or she would have memorized what color everyone else is calling plants, of course.

    Laurel in #4: Best thing I ever did for my writing skills was run screaming from Academe before grad school, having read too much of the PMLA than was good for my digestion. (I have maintained a friendly relationship with higher ed. in general.) In the ensuing 20, 30 years I did other things–assorted odd jobs, nursing, pro gardening, evangelical Arborism–about which I now actually write. Having skills in my native language was useful in the other work, too, so it’s not as if I’d wasted my life in school.

  19. Kseniya says

    I grade tests while watching Star Trek reruns, makes the time go faster.

    Yeah, but when the Enterprise is in Warp, time goes slower, so it evens out.

    I hope I haven’t spoiled it for you…