Monday, August 3, 2020

Howie Balaban: Back To School - Week 8 & 9

It’s been about two weeks since I last updated any interested parties on my back to school adventure, and in those two weeks, I managed to write enough for the two classes I was taking in Summer Session number two that I finished both a few days early.

Yup. D-U-N. Done.

Technically speaking, according to the calendar provided by the school in which I’m enrolled, the second summer session ends on Friday, Aug. 7. However, given the sheer depth of the work and reading assigned for the two courses I was taking this session, even the professor decided to accelerate things. How, you ask? 

Heading into the fourth week of class - so on Monday, July 27 - I had anticipated an email sent out with lecture notes and a set of questions that would require written responses. Instead, since the previous three weeks had been so reading and writing intensive with what my classmates and I were required to submit, the professor’s email that day included zero assignments. Instead, it outlined the guidelines for submitting our final work by this Wednesday, Aug 5.

I will admit to being very okay with not having to do another set of assignments. After all, it’s summer and as I’m sure anyone can imagine, I have other things that need to be done, too. 

So, I spent the early part of last week - during which time I was fortunate enough to have the house to myself for various reasons - getting as much work done as possible. I got to a point by mid-week that left me with one or two pieces of writing left to do per day, but those writings were the “easy” ones compared to what else had been assigned to that point. 

By the time Friday hit, I was down to four writings left for just one class. On Sunday, I had two left, and by dinner Sunday, I was done. That class’s batch of final assignments was then filed appropriately and submitted to the professor early that evening (Aug. 2). The other class - remember, I was taking two - saw its final batch of assignments sent over on Friday, July 31.

Like I’ve said a few times so far in sharing my thoughts here, present me is really wishes he could hop in a DeLorean and have a talk with younger me. Here I am, telling you that I was able to finish up two classes taught in a severely condensed time frame - and finish them early. The college-aged me probably could have done that, but wouldn’t have. Too easily distracted.

Now, to this point you’ll notice I haven’t written about what prospective grade I think is forthcoming for these two courses. Frankly, I have no idea. In two phone conversations with the professor this session, I think I got the feeling I was doing ok, and I was given a similar sense of reassurance in email correspondence. However, with no “actual” graded work to look at up to this point, I really don’t know where I stand. There were periodic checks on various assignments and I got the virtual “thumbs up” to continue what I was doing, but again, I have no idea what to expect.

What I do know, however, is that classes for me don’t resume until Aug. 31 and based off all the information currently available, most of them will also be online. I also anticipate a bit of a throttling back of sorts, for they will be taught over a span of just over three months rather than just 4-5 weeks. The intensity level will, I expect, drop just a bit.

When classes do start back up, I’ll resume checking in with you, the reader, and updating my progress (as vaguely as possible, as always). In the meantime, now that I’ve finished up for the summer, there are several things that have been allowed to slide in my house that need attention. I’m quite behind on laundry, there’s a deck that needs a fresh coat (or two) of stain, and more than one room needs to be de-junk-ified. 

All in good time.

Meanwhile, I’ll be back again soon with some thoughts on either a book or a classic movie. With no assignments looming over my head, I’ve got a little time to read and watch stuff now. It will be refreshing to do both of those leisure activities without being graded.

Howie Balaban has now completed four courses on his journey toward becoming a teacher, and this fall he will be considered a full-time student when he takes another five classes. So far, so good, he says. And he once again reminds everyone that it is never too late to start something new.