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Survival Mode

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Hey there. Remember me? I’m that crazy biology professor that used to blog on this site. I just survived the semester from H-E-double hockey sticks. Survived is a good word for it. I can’t say that I was the most inspired educator this Spring. Creativity and ingenuity kindof went out the classroom window. Instead, I relied heavily on old standbys and previous semesters’ work.

Let me give you some context. I was teaching two courses this semester. One that I have taught every semester since I began teaching, and a brand new prep (the subject of my last blog post in January). Teaching the new course was akin to being thrown into the deep end of a pool without floaties having just a rudimentary ability to swim. The person who taught the course before me didn’t give me much to build off of. She didn’t use a textbook and had not established a lab curriculum that I could easily follow. Basically, I had to start from scratch. This alone is intimidating, but I was up for the challenge.

But wait, there’s more! Let’s add in the weather. We live in Georgia. You may remember the the great Atlanta snowpocalypse of 2014. Fortunately, we live far enough from the city that we didn’t suffer through the horrible traffic; however, we had no less than four “snow” days at the beginning of the semester, two of which were days that we were scheduled for labs, which are hard to make up. I found myself making adjustments to the syllabus on the fly.

On top of all of it, I was incredibly sick for the first half of the semester. There was the stomach flu, an awful head cold, a sinus infection, the stomach flu again, pinkeye, a crazy rash all over my body, and oh did I mention that I’m pregnant with baby #3? Morning sickness is enough to suck any sort of motivation from your soul, but add all the illness on top of it and I was a bit of a zombie in the classroom. I found myself just praying that I could get through the semester without doing irreparable damage. Blogging just didn’t happen.

The one thing that I can be thankful for is that my microbiology course is so well organized at this point that I could let it mostly drive itself. I had all of the lectures already recorded and posted on YouTube. The lab curriculum was well established. I could copy homework assignments from the previous semester and I simply followed the schedule that I had been working to perfect the last several years. Am I completely satisfied with the way it turned out? Nope. There are lots of little changes that I want to make here and there, but this was not the semester to do it.

Now that it is all over I am taking some time to reflect and reevaluate. Summer is great for that. I’m also planning for the future. The next six months or so promise to be interesting. Coming soon, I will be teaching microbiology again during a short, 4-week summer term. Right now I am trying to figure out how to fit 16 weeks of material into that small space. This Fall will be another unique situation. Baby #3 is due at the beginning of September, which means I will be taking most of the semester off. I will be leaving my courses in the hands of one of the best micro instructors in our department, but the logistics of course sharing should be interesting at best.

All of that was to get you up to speed on what’s been going on with me and to explain my absence. I’m hoping that I can return to blogging with renewed enthusiasm now that I have a little bit of breathing room. Well, at least until September, but I’m trying not to think about that right now.

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