Oh, man. I just finished my last lecture for this semester — this was a rough term, and I feel like I just barely dragged myself over the finish line. The big strain came from the fact that I revamped everything: I completely changed the content of my neurobiology course, with a new textbook, a new emphasis, and a different direction for the labs, and some stuff worked and some stuff failed catastrophically (the last few weeks of the lab in particular were a disaster). I offer this course again in two years, and I think I can fix the bad parts by then. I also patched up a lot of material in my Fundamentals of Genetics, Evolution, and Development course; not so much changes in lecture content, but stretching to reach out and get the students interacting more. That worked entirely — I got some significant improvements in average exam scores which I will take complete credit for, although it could just be that our incoming freshman class was full of geniuses this year. I also got much more disciplined in the writing course, and imposed a whole series of step-by-step deadlines on the big term paper. It required a bit more effort during the term, but the payoff is now — I’m not getting any papers dumped cold on my desk for grading, they’ve all been fussed over already.
It’s tiring, though. Show business is hard work; getting up and doing 4 or 5 lectures a week (and about half of them new) is exhausting. It would be much easier to just write this stuff. Why didn’t anyone tell me that a career in science involved so much singing and dancing?
My neuro students are all done with their bloggery now, and here’s the final list of neurobiology weblogs I forced them to start. Some might fade away after this, others may move on to new sites, some might keep going. However it works out, this can be my little public monument to Fall 2011. Stop by and congratulate them on surviving a whole semester with Old Man Myers.
Next: I’ve got final exams to give, a nice break to catch up on deadlines, and lots of preparation for next term to do. Spring will be worse, with an all-new, starting from scratch course in cancer biology to teach.
For now, I’m going into seclusion for a bit to wrap up some extracurricular writing that must get done right now. It’s not much of a celebration yet.
(Also on FtB)