The capricious forces directing undergraduate teaching in political science have set me up for an extremely difficult term.
First, I was assigned to teach an hour’s $6 shuttle drive away, at the Missisauga campus. Second, my “tutorials” are starting with 30 students each. With only five tutorials in the entire course, this raises the question of how students can be meaningfully graded on participation.
Most seriously, they allocated all of my 210 teaching hours for the year to just this term. Since my fellow TAs are only doing half their hours this term, my huge surplus of hours must be dedicated to grading. This means I will be spending huge blocks of time grading the midterm and the essay — so much that it seems impossible within the standard turnaround time for exams and assignments. As a further vexation, all the grading must be done through tedious and fiddly online systems, rather than quickly and intuitively on paper copies.
At the same time, I am working hard with my committee to get my PhD project formally approved by the department, and to get research ethics approval. Judo aside (which ought to help remain sanity), this will be a term where further extras are essentially inpermissible.