I the new kid in my department, and though they have been most kind on the scheduling front I did get the night version of Introductory Quantitative College Hamsterology for Non-majors. Two meetings a week. One for a two hour fifty minute laboratory, and one for a three hour twenty minute lecture. Starting at six pm.I hold a couple of breaks during the lecture, but even so by nine everyone is starting to fade fast. So I've been dismissing class fifteen minutes early (plus or minus a little, so I can end cleanly). I feel the slightest bit guilty about it, but I don't think the student would benefit much from my soldering on.Am I a bad person?
No, you're not a bad person. One of the things you'll realize is that the time slots in which colleges schedule classes (often because said slots supposedly fit into the students' busy lives) are not always conducive to learning. When that's the case, one often has to compromise in some way; yours sounds reasonable to me. The kind of explicit bargain Bastard mentions below is also a good approach, and may feel like it has more integrity. There is, after all, usually some time built into such classes for breaks (and/or that would be passing time in a more normally scheduled class); rearranging that to best fit the actual needs of the students -- and to keep their concentration as good as possible as they near bedtime/14 or 15 hours since they woke) makes sense.
I hold exams on Friday afternoon. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha.
I also have Friday afternoon exams :-)Now my one class has been let out early a few times because the prof in charge (I am an adjunct) has failed to send me more lecture and I do not have access to instructor materials. I plain ran out of lecture and I milked Hamster diseases as long as I could. I am so grateful that I am in charge of my other 2 classes!
That sounds like a weird arrangement. Isn't the whole point of a lecture to allow the professor in charge to talk to everybody in the class at once? In any case, you can only do so much if you're not in charge.
I let them out two minutes early on Wednesday, and nobody complained. But more often I go a minute or two over time; so far there has been no awkward shuffling of backpacks, since usually it is just to finish explaining a problem. As long as they don't mind staying a minute or two later, I'm okay with letting them out up to fine minutes early, if there's nothing useful I could fill that time with. It's an unspoken deal that seems to be working so far.Friday afternoon exams, hah! Try Monday morning exams following a home game weekend.
I let a class out early once and had two non-trads furious that I was not giving them their money's worth. Since then, I've been careful to not do that too often and only let them out early if I held them over the class before.
My Wednesday - Friday AM class is a long one with a break in the middle; however, the students decide if they want to take one. On Wednesday's they want the break. On Fridays they tell me to keep going so they can leave early. The class should end at 10:50, but without a break would end at 10:40. If they leave at 10:35 then I become the hero because, in their minds, they're out a half hour early.
I've ended class early--only when no one has read the material. Or next to no one. If I sense that no one has read, the first thing I do is give a quiz. Then, I quickly look over the quizzes. "Most of you haven't read," I'll say, "and we can't have a class discussion if you don't do your work. Don't expect me to come in here and tell you what happened and what it means, when you haven't even cracked a book. Your job is to come to class prepared. We can't have class if you aren't prepared for discussion. And yes, you're responsible for this text on our next test," Just before I flounce out, I say "and the two of you that did read are welcome to come to my office and talk about the reading there."I do that about once a semester. It always results in an awesome discussion in my office with those two students that did do the work. And it scares the ever-loving shit out of the rest. I do something similar when students ask to be let out early, or to cancel class. "Sure we can cancel class," I say. "I know this stuff already. But canceling class doesn't cancel your responsibility for this text on our test. You'll still be tested on it." After that, no one asks to cancel class.One of my students says her com professor always lets a them out early from their weekly class. Like, an hour and a half early. Every week. It's not a hybrid class. He doesn't give them research to do or writing during that lost time. It's basically a three-credit class that meets for an hour and a half a week.Fucking communications professor. Shoot that fucker. Shoot him dead.
"I've ended class early--only when no one has read the material."I've done that before, when I had classes that were specifically allocated for class discussion. In my current job, I teach 45- to 50-person classes that meet twice a week for one hour and fifteen minutes. In most class meetings, I combine lecture and class discussion. These classes are often broken up not simply into a lecture-then-discussion format, but in such a way that I stop the lecture at certain points to discuss particular issues from the readings, and then resume the lecture, and connect our discussion issues to the lecture.For that reason, when they haven't done the reading, I still give the lecture that I was intending to give, but I will remove any component where I summarize the main aspects of the readings for them, and I tell them that they're still responsible for the material in the readings.I've been tempted to completely cancel class, and a couple of my colleagues do that, but I worry that, if I don't address at least the broad outline of the lecture, they will fall even further behind. Another one of my colleagues has a policy whereby she will ask who has done the reading, and then will tell everyone who hasn't to leave the room, and that it is their assignment for the class to read the materials in the library. She says that her discussions with those who remain are usually excellent.
A few years ago in a fit of frustration, I decided that they don't get presents (i.e. free time) for not doing their work. Instead, when it was clear that no one had done the reading I assigned them a series of questions from the reading to do in class to be turned in at the end of class. When they grumbled I smiled and said "this would be pretty easy if you had done the reading!" in my perkiest tone. I heard more than one student mutter how much it sucked and declare that they wished they had done the reading. I was pleased, and that is my new default when it is really clear that NO ONE is prepared.
I'm occasionally guilty of this one, mostly because it's hard to estimate exactly how long the sorts of hands-on activities around which my classes revolve will take with different combinations of students, classroom equipment, mode of instruction (hybrid vs. all-in-class), etc. And I tend to stick to the announced schedule because if I didn't, I'd completely lose track of which of four sections was where. I've got a more discussion-based class scheduled for next semester, and am already dreading dealing with the "did anybody really read" question. My usual default is to have a couple of passages selected for close reading in class, but I need to add some additional tricks to my bag (quickly stuffs in some of the ideas above, hoping Stella and Academic don't mind. One of the nice things about teaching ideas is that one can borrow them without the original owner missing them.)
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