Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Nice teacher? Mean teacher? Spineless teacher?

My college students are scheduled to take exams next week - one class on Tuesday night, and one on Thursday night. Two hours, open notes, open book. I feel pretty generous about that.

I let them use the book and notes because I assign massive amounts of reading, and I don't think I should require students in a first year composition (lit based) class to memorize authors and titles. The focus should be on demonstrating what they can do with the literature more than anything.

But now I'm kind of tempted to give them the final as a take-home on Thursday, and just have them return it next week. Is that being too generous? Is this my laziness trumping my teacherly duty? Because I would rather not sit there for two hours while they take their exams. That is definitely one factor.

The midterm was take-home. Apparently some of them took much longer than I anticipated to complete it, so I know that the final will be shorter than the midterm.

I worry that the spirit of generosity and all that is taking me over and compromising my mean teacherness. And then, I remember that I don't HAVE to be a mean teacher, not all the time, even though being a little scary can be fun. And the important part is that they demonstrate competence with the material and all that.

What do you think?


Avitable said...

Since it's open book, what's the harm in making it a take-home? It's not laziness on your part. The good students will still shine through.

Melissa said...

I don't think it's spineless or too nice to give it to them as a take-home. If it's open book, why not? Most of my open-book tests in college were take-home.