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The Semester That Wouldn't Die

This year we had The Semester That Wouldn't Die.  The school year started late anyway because Labor Day came later than usual.  On top of that, Michigan decided to add five days to the academic calendar (without adding more money to the schools' budget, I might add).

Starting late often pushes semester exams out a week.  Normally we have them a week after we return from winter break--the week before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day so we can have a three-day weekend after exams.  However, this time the district decided, for some weird-ass reason, to set the end of the semester THREE weeks after the end of winter break.

I ran out of material.  Seriously.  I covered every single thing I needed to for the semester, plus some extra stuff I don't normally have time to do.  Then I said, "Hell with it" and started in on second semester material (which I wouldn't put on the exam, of course.)  I got all the way through the first unit of the second semester, and STILL had time for two days of exam review and half a day of teaching students how to study for final exams.

It wasn't just me.  Every teacher I talked to--and I talked to more than a dozen--was in the same boat.  "What the hell do I do now?" "I'm vamping."  "Should I start second semester, or what?"

Another teacher did some counting and pointed out that second semester this year is TWO WEEKS SHORTER than first semester.  Glad I did that unit early.  However, the single-semester classes that meet in the spring lose that instructional time, and this is unfair.

I don't know what the hell the district was thinking.  We should have had exams at the normal time and been well into second semester by now.  This was the semester that just wouldn't die, and we felt it.  The last week and a half was a slog through muck.  The teachers felt it, the students felt it, everyone felt it.

I'll be talking to the union about it, since the union has input on the calendar, letting them know this was a huge mistake.


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