OPINION | Dear professors, please stop making the last six weeks of the semester the hardest

The Monday I returned from my spring break beach vacation, I spent my day in my room getting my affairs in order for the month of April. When I got to writing my planner for the week, I found myself disgusted, disappointed and disheartened.

After an exam-free semester thus far, I was faced with two tests to finish by Thursday. My post-vacation tranquility wore off immediately. How could my professors avoid tests for ten weeks, then two of them assign tests the week after spring break?

I hoped this despicable workload spike was just a fluke, that I could make it through the following weeks with less stress. Upon further investigation into my Canvas future, the injustice continued, with big assignments and more busy work stacking up through finals.

I find this unfair. It appears that instructors are using the first 10-12 weeks of class as a warmup, like we’re wading through 4-foot-deep water with floaties on. Then, once we get through spring break, it’s a plunge into the deep end, and we never learned how to doggy paddle.

I am taking an intensive writing course this semester. At the beginning of the semester, my professor said we would gradually build a cohesive final project throughout the entire semester. To me, that sounds like picking a topic early on and having small assignments due every couple of weeks to lighten the load toward the end of the semester.

Instead, the allegedly gradual project was not mentioned again until week 8. We turned in a 200-300-word proposal that week and now have a large project assignment due every Monday for the last four weeks.

All semester, we have been doing 10-point knowledge checks for homework that we never address after class the day they’re due. I can’t understand why my teacher wants to grade things like that, when he could just grade project-builders, like he said he would.

Every semester, I end up in one of these low point value classes that only have four or five assignments due the whole semester. In those classes, it seems like we do not even think about assignments the first six weeks, do one short essay for midterms and then end up with two projects and a research paper due in the last six weeks.

I would think at this level of education, teachers would know how to make a balanced workload, or at least evenly space assignments. I appreciate the professors that establish an expected workload week one and keep it the rest of the semester.

And it’s always the professors that wait until the last minute to assign everything that complain about their grading workload. Here’s an idea: don’t assign a project, two essays, an exam and five busy work assignments in the last six weeks. Any teacher who uses their own syllabus as an excuse for long grading times gets an automatic zero on the FCQ.

Maybe professors think they need to save their hardest assignments for after spring break to keep students’ attention. It’s a sweet thought, looking out for my grades like that, but really, this workload makes me want to see what a C is like, just to feel something.

Professors really show their dedication to the job in the last six weeks. Some professors stick to the syllabus they gave and connect their final weeks’ work to everything they taught the first 10 weeks. Others — the ones who give no assignment details or grade breakdown on the syllabus, be warned — reach spring break and realize they never elaborated on that project they said we’d “talk about later in the semester.”

If professors want me to keep my energy up throughout the semester and give them high quality work, I need my efforts reciprocated. Professors, you get out of class what you put in, too.

Photo via UCCS Photography Database.