Once again, ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo! And, as has been pointed out, after yesterday, enjoy Revenge of the Fifth!
Unfortunately, I will not be able to make much observance of either the holiday or the joking pseudo-holiday. Today is the first day of exams for the term, and I have two of them to give today. This means, of course, that I have two sets of them to grade today, and since I am heading off to the International Congress on Medieval Studies later this week, I have to get the grading done quickly (and I just got stacks of grading done over the weekend). I also have some other projects that need attention before I leave. So no parties for me tonight, more's the pity. There will be others.
With exams beginning today, the term is ending. There have been semesters I have been glad to see go. (Those who recall some of my more choice comments from the end of last term can guess about which I mean.) This term, the Spring 2014 at Oklahoma State University, is not one of them. Certainly, there have been students I have not appreciated, but my classes have been good experiences overall. That I got to teach in my area made much difference, I think. That I have also been as busy as I have been outside the classroom, working on pieces of The Work and on actual paying jobs, has also helped. And Ms. 8 coming into the waking world has not hurt my opinion of the time in which she did so.
I will miss many of the students whom I expect to see for the last time today. I will miss the rapport I built up with them over the past fourteen or fifteen weeks, miss getting to see them wrestle with concepts and arrive at new understandings. (I will not miss the grading.) Some of them have actually begun to awaken to broader possibilities--and it is not only those in my field of whom I speak. Many reported to me having a new understanding and appreciation of what those in the academic humanities do, both the work that goes into doing it and the value of it. I mark it as a successful academic experience for them. It validates my work at the front of the classroom, to be sure, and even if the students sought only to flatter me, I am gratified that I am seen as meriting appeasement rather than open scorn and derision.
I am not teaching over the summer, which is strange to me. It should offer me more time to work on The Work, which is helpful; I have several projects still to do, including a book chapter for which I need to do a lot of reading in a hurry. (Thank God I read quickly.) And it will offer me a fair bit of time with Ms. 8, which I also appreciate. Once the summer is over, though, I do not know what I will do. Perhaps I will have such good classes once again; I certainly hope so.