The Trouble with Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving holiday, taking place on the fourth Thursday of November, has a troublesome position in the academic calendar for quarter-based schools. It occurs too close to the end of the quarter and destroys the sense of rhythm in the lectures at a crucial position near the end. The week is nearly cut in half, and given that regardless of when your class takes place, most everyone will want to take the Wednesday off. By the time everyone gets back from their overeating, no one wants to learn anything and are in anticipation of the winter holidays (and living in dread of finals). So the rest of the quarter becomes difficult to try to get any last minute material. So in other quarters, late-quarter fatigue does set in anyway, but the holiday is still rather disorientating.

Worse than the lectures being all shot, we have the difficulty of what to do about homework. Do you become the villainous, cruel teacher who would dare assign homework to be due after Thanksgiving? But again, next week is the last week of class, so the most reasonable time would be after Thanksgiving to make homework due.

People suspect that if instructors and professors were to remember their own student years, then they’d have more sympathy and act kindly. But in this case, it backfires. I had to study and do homework over the break and go to class on Wednesday. So the recollection only makes me angry that when the roles are reversed, I am still worse for it.

Okay. Rant over.

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About minimalrho
Unemployed guy with a PhD in math.

2 Responses to The Trouble with Thanksgiving

  1. John Rickert says:

    Our quarter system is set up so that this week is break week. Then we have a two week gap in the middle of winter term. I usually assign a standard weekend-length homework.

    • minimalrho says:

      I don’t know how I feel about that, but it certainly avoids the awkwardness of having lecture on a Wednesday that most people seem annoyed when you insist on having it.

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