Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Terminus ad quem

Now that I'm done teaching the "Contemporary Moral Issues" class here in Kosovo it's time to start in with the General Biology course (plus lab). Whereas the Ethics class met twice per week, three hours each night, this Biology class meets twice per week, *four* hours each night, from 1800 - 2200 hours.

That's 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. in non-Army-speak.


The semester began for us last night, and I had thirteen students show up, out of the sixteen that are on the roster. At least a couple are on R & R and should be back later this week or at the beginning of next week.

A long, long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away....), the College I attended used the Quarter system: three ten-week Quarters rather than two fifteen-week semesters. We typically would take three classes per Quarter rather than four or five per semester; I usually had four, as it turned out, what with my double major in Biology and Music, and going to foreign study in Spain (which had nothing to do with either of my majors).

I actually liked the rhythm and pace of the Quarter system more than I've like semesters over the years.

Here, perhaps because we're in a deployed, military situation, the term of instruction is 7.5 weeks. That means we're cramming a whole semester into half the time it might take somewhere else.

Hence, four hours per night, twice weekly.

I say again: Whew!

It's a good thing I love Biology, and a better thing that I love it when others learn things. I'm especially chuffed when students master a subject area they'd let others convince them they never could. It looks as though I might have a couple of that kind of student in this term's class.

We're going to have a good time, I hope. My goal this term (as ever!) is their success, as I told them.

It's going to be a lot of work, for all of us.

They at least get to remain seated for most of each four-hour session, as I bounce around attempting to hold their interest -- and keep them awake after a long day of soldiering, and dinner.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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