Thursday, March 12, 2009

On the Other Side of the Test

As I wrote this post to be uploaded at some time in the future, I am currently proctoring the first exam I've ever written. And I've found that, in addition to it being easier on test day when you're in the front of the room, test week in general is the best week(s) of them all.

You see, no one really understands how much effort goes in to teaching. I certainly didn't, and I've been a teaching assistant for two-plus years prior to this. In really thinking about it and breaking down the time I spend on teaching...well, it turns out to be a lot. For instance, I teach every Wednesday night, so I spend every Monday prepping class -- putting together lectures, finding good video clips, thinking up group discussions, etc. So that means that give or take 20% of my work week is dedicated solely to coming up with things to do during class time. This doesn't even include the time spent answering e-mails, talking with students, grading, finding readings, etc. It's crazy how that shit adds up.

Which is why test week is awesome. It turns out tests are fairly fun to write (at least the first time), and you don't have to do any class prep that week. Nope, you just get to kick back and write snarky blog posts while the students sweat out 2 hours or so of criminological theory. And now having been on both sides of this divide, I must say it's much more enjoyable and less stressful in the front of the room.

Of course, once you give a test you have to grade a test, but that's where our severely under-paid and over-worked teaching assistants come in...ah, good ol' test week.


Dad said...

Mixing chemicals is a lot more fun!

Brenda said...

Yup. You are getting it! There were so many things I didn't understand until I started teaching, like why class presentations and small-group discussions were so popular with teachers. It's simple- less work for us, more happy fun times for all.