Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Not a good start to the semester...

Today was supposed to have been the first day of classes for the spring semester where I teach.  Since there's a snow/sleet/ice storm now battering the Northeast, however, classes were cancelled.  Most people would love to get a snowday from work and stay home (and still get paid) but I don't like them.  I carefully plan all of the lectures for my classes so snowdays wreak havoc with my schedule.

Just look at that mess in the Northeast.  It's what Elliot Abrams of Accuweather calls a "slop storm" (not exactly a scientific term but certainly descriptive).

Today, for example, I was to teach the first lecture of an Historical Geology course.  It's a 4-credit lab course that has two 1.5 hour lectures each week (Tuesday & Thursday mornings) and a 3 hour lab (Monday afternoons).  Due to the snow day, I'm missing a 1.5 hour lecture.  While we have a snow day makeup built into the spring schedule, it's not until April.  The problem is that I need to talk about some things before lab next Monday and now I'll have trouble doing that in the one class I have left this week (and similarly for future Monday labs).  I'll probably just use some of the first lab day to continue lecturing and have the students finish up the labs on their own time.

Faculty on the other side of campus (you know, those social "science" and humanities types) don't often appreciate how schedule changes affect those of us with science labs we're trying to coordinate with lectures.  Those in the college administration, of course, typically have a background in those "softer" academic areas.

That's why I hate snowdays.  Even though I get a day off, it actually makes more work for me when I return to school since I now have to modify how I do things.  I'm also department chair and there's work I need to do for that as well (stuff I couldn't really do until the semester began and can't do at home).  Now that work starts piling up also.

I should count my blessings since I'd rather go to work than get a day off.  Not many people can say that about their jobs!

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