This is it. My students’ final exam was today, and I’ve been assigned to a different class next quarter, so this batch of students is moving on forever. In a way, I’m relieved. At UW, undergraduates come in with no expectations of their TA except perhaps that of being bored. Over the course of a quarter, they build those expectations and learn to actually expect to get something out of quiz section. Now, this is a wonderful thing, and it’s something that I wouldn’t change for the world. However, when they start out with high expectations, we go through the same building process and at the end they feel like I’m not doing enough for them. Really, I’m doing more, but their idea of my job description changes to include any and all concessions that have been made in the past. Therefore, teaching the same students two quarters in a row can be exhausting, because they constantly push to see if they can get two review sessions rather than one, or maybe I could hold an extra problem session outside of class time, or some other suggestion that gives new meaning to the words “above and beyond the call of duty.” In some ways, then, it will be easier on me to have a new crop of students next quarter, who will start out apathetic and with no expectations and then gradually come to believe that it is the TA’s duty to talk them through a problem at 2 am, or some such nonsense.

On the other hand, I was really hoping that I would get to teach the second half of this class. The second quarter is a lot more fun (in my mind) than the first, and I really like seeing students progress through an entire class. They come out so much better than they go in, or at least they do if their teachers do their jobs right. I really liked taking my students all the way through organic chemistry last year; an extra quarter gives you a lot more time to really get to know them. So, I’m a bit sad tonight, knowing that it’s over.

I’m also terribly relieved. I have such a huge pile of research work to do, and theoretically I now have one whole week in which to do it before going home for Christmas. I have so much to do, and it will be really nice to have a good chunk of solid time to just get things done that I need done. Of course, that’s after I finish grading 135 exams tomorrow. That should be fun.

In that spirit, a friend of mine sent me this link earlier. Anyone that knows me knows that I am the world’s worst procrastinator (can anyone say obsessively on time?), but it’s pretty funny anyway. And yes, a large part of the reason that I maintain high levels of productivity is that I practice this “structured procrastination.”

This evening I don’t need to procrastinate, however, as I was good and left the exams at school. I will grade tomorrow, but tonight I knit. I am shocked by this lack of work-a-holism, especially as Branden is out of town (which usually means that I bring work home to do in the evenings). I think I might just like it, though. Those exams will be just as much fun tomorrow morning as they’d be tonight, and I couldn’t just stay home and knit tomorrow if I worked tonight, so for now, I knit!