Spring awakening, part 2

The strangest thing about the last couple of weeks is how much prepping and grading have slid down my list of preoccupations.  I’m still doing them, but they keep getting displaced from my thoughts and, to some extent, from my time–I’m doing them in bits and pieces instead of in neatly circumscribed chunks of time, as I’ve usually preferred to do.  What’s happening is that issues both important and urgent keep intervening–some to do with the literary magazine, which is on the verge of being printed, and many to do with departmental issues for next year: hiring, deployment, covering Gamma’s leave.

I am starting to understand the SA version of the problem of bodies in seats: we can’t finalize deployment until have some certainty about how many sections of each class we’ll need, and in some cases, that rests on factors we can’t entirely control.  We’re in the throes of a new system for applying for and approving honors/AP placements, and one effect we are discovering is that the counselors are supplying one set of numbers, based on students’ self-reporting what they plan to apply for, and the departments are supplying another set, based on who actually follows through and turns in the forms.  The college counselors put their numbers into the enrollment system, though, so that’s the set of numbers that Penelope has been using to build the schedule.  In a few cases, these numbers are strikingly different, enough to account for one more, or one fewer, class.

Fortunately for me, we seem to have enough staff to cover whatever contingency, but I want to minimize people’s preps (I am already seeing that Dr. Tea will have to deal with three preps, but none new, thank goodness, and only for one year, I hope).  And of course we all want to know what we are teaching next year!

You can see how there might end up being somewhat more winging of teaching things under these circumstances…


5 responses to this post.

  1. Ugh, we are going through the math of sections numbers, and it’s been awful. And of course it’s my first time going through it, so I’m stressing about it. Actually, the problem isn’t doing the math; it’s getting the administration to sign off on the math. But they are reluctant to recognize that we need the number of sections that we do in fact need, and actually the English department seems to be in trouble at the moment. I’m finding it rather stressful!


    • Posted by meansomething on May 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm

      WN?, what happens if you literally don’t have enough sections for students? Does enrollment get too big? That is a no-no around here; we know that one of the things parents are paying for is small classes, and it’s a very easy point of comparison with Massive City District, where the norm is 35-ish per class.


      • We have to keep classes small as well. In this case what’s happening is that on Friday we finally got permission to hire a part-time person to teach two sections of Upper School English. So that means another round of hiring, which is exhausting, but it also means that we can now get on with finally figuring out our plans for next year instead of being in a frustrating holding pattern.

  2. Posted by Bardiac on May 9, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    You both need to make a competing job offer for a certain person to teach your students Shakespeare and stuff! Yeah! Like that!

    I’ve been on our committee that tries to balance out what we have to offer and how we can meet all the demands for basic writing, general education classes, classes for our majors and minors, and for other majors. It’s like a huge, massive algebra problem that doesn’t always quite work out.

    And then there’s putting everything in times that don’t conflict and in rooms.


  3. Posted by meansomething on May 12, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    OMG, rooms. Don’t get me started! 🙂
    Bardiac, I wonder if we’ll ever get to teach together again. I would love that. Maybe after the Snork Maiden is grown, I could come to your place as a VAP. Or if you’re going to be in my neck of the woods, you could at least do a guest Shakespeare seminar. Seriously.


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