Kinda sorta almost done with classes

The end is in sight! Then…SPIDERS!

This week is in a curious kind of limbo. It’s the end of the semester, which means the students have lost focus, and I’ve helped them do that. Here’s my general grading strategy:

  • The final exam is cumulative and optional. Whatever score they get on the final replaces the lowest midterm exam score. The point of that is to give students an escape hatch if they unavoidably missed or screwed up on one of the exams.
  • Their final lab report is due today, but lab scores are independent of exam scores, and the grade they get on it won’t influence their final exam grade.
  • They had their last midterm last Friday. I’ve already graded it and gotten it back to them.
  • They are all smart upper-level students. They have all their exam and homework and lab scores, less this one lab report, and I’ve told them exactly how to estimate their final grade.

They’ve got all the information in hand right now to know whether they need to show up for class, and whether anything they learn will be at all helpful in improving their grade. I also announced that Wednesday will be just for administrative sorts of things — final chance to scavenge a few points by arguing with me, or just to discuss whatever they’re curious about in genetics.

So less than a quarter of the class showed up today, I expect it’ll be even less on Wednesday. I’m hoping it’s a calming, quiet part of the term that they can use to study hard for their other classes.

I’m not quite through myself, though. A pile of lab reports will be thrown over the virtual transom at midnight tonight, and I have to get them all graded by Wednesday morning. Then I have to write the final exam, which I expect only a quarter of the class (again) will take, and which will be due on Thursday the 12th, prompting a final, brief flurry of grading, and that’s it. Really, I’ll be officially done next week, but it’s mainly just coasting along for me. Then SUMMER BREAK.

I have plans for that, too. I’m going to be doing some regular spidering stuff, and I have also vowed to strip all the wallpaper from our dining room and master bedroom and repaint by 31 May. It helps to give myself deadlines for the mundane boring jobs.


  1. says

    Many decades ago Hans Conried (sp?) on the TV show Fractured Flickers said to the camera:
    ‘In the immortal words of the stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, the end is in sight!’

    PZ, your diligence as a teacher is duly noted. Now, go play with your spiders.

    Spider, spider on the wall,
    ain’t you got no brains at all,
    can’t you see that’s just been plastered?
    get off that wall you dirty . . .spider!

  2. birgerjohansson says

    Prognosis for late May; PZ falls while painting the higher parts of the wall and gets a nasty fracture. The pain subsides just in time for the return of the students in fall..

  3. says

    see the (almost) clever tie-ins:
    Stripper – strip the wall paper
    Wall paper – spider on the wall
    Do you suppose I’m half-wit, half-wisdom?? GROAN

  4. says

    More likely outcome: PZ strains his back reaching up to the ceiling, spends the rest of the summer moaning.