There are two really stressful times during the semester; the beginning and the end. The beginning is racked with new rolls daily, students not sure about where they are to be and when they should be there. At the end of the semester, it is not about the students, but the paperwork. Every class generates about 7 pages of paper work, none of which is actually paperwork to start with. We have to report everything electronically and then print it and submit paper copies.
Before any of that happens, you have to administer final exams. Final exams typically don’t take place during regular class time, but at a prearranged time that is close but not quite at the same time class met. For students who struggle to make it to class, making it to a final exam represents a major challenge. Typically I will spend the better part of a day tracking down lost students. Once you get them tested, then you complete the paperwork; attendance records, grade records, date you last saw them records, and learning outcomes.
I marvel at the variety of ways we as teachers deal with this event. First, we are tired, so the fuse is very short. Second, there are a variety of deadlines for the variety of documents, so we are continually asking one another what is due and when is it due. Third, and my favorite, how do you keep track of the paperwork you have completed. My two office partners have a unique system of laying all their records out, sorted by class section, on the floor of the office. During the closing of the semester you must tread very carefully in our office, literally and figuratively. It is not surprising that things can get a little tense.
Add to this the documents related to the end of the semester for us as employees. We have to complete an evaluation packet, which has its own due date. And all events in that packet must be supported by documentation, which if you haven’t kept up with it all semester you have to track that down. There are no ways around all this, I have looked for the loopholes, and have come to the conclusion that it will just be stressful, but end soon.