I have been teaching the same class for four semesters now.  The curriculum never changes because “that’s the way it has always been.”  Some of the lab materials are actually dated 1975 and refer to audio cassette tapes!  (Roll eyes here)  So, I really think by now I know what I’m doing.  Every semester we have a weekly meeting about the next unit in this class.  It accomplishes nothing and last semester I was the only one (out of eight ) who showed up for this meeting most of the time so…   O.K. fast forward to this semester.  At the beginning of the semester I gave the coordinator a list of two dates in which I would miss the meetings because I had a lab field trip.  These absences were approved by her.  Last week I get a seven paragraph letter about missing these meetings, not talking with the instructor, not fulfilling my TA responsibilities, being unprepared to teach the sections in question, about the expectations of TAing this class, letting the students down because I was not prepared, and a paragraph about how all of this was unacceptable behavior from a veteran TA.  Sigh.  I miss two meetings WITH permission I might add, and suddenly the world is coming to an end. 

O.K.  more on the being prepared part. 

The schedule of this class is FUBARed.  Some units are split up into two weeks.  Part one, one week and part two, one week.  Well, I teach lab on Wed afternoons and Sat mornings.  Part two of this lovely set-up always (for four semesters now) always falls after the lecture exam for that unit.  When they get to the lab during week one, part one, there is this huge sign telling them that they have to have part two done before they take their lecture exam for that unit.  Their lecture exams are on Tues or Wed mornings.  Does anyone else see the problem here?  Part two, week two is scheduled after their lecture exams!!

O.K.  So  I do both parts of the unit before their lecture exam because if I was in their shoes I would be ticked off at this schedule.  I am the kind of teacher that tries not to do to my students what ticks me off when my teachers do it to me.  I have gotten in BIG trouble for doing this because I am not following curriculum.  Oh HELLO!  Did you not read your own signs?  The students appreciate my foresight.  The bueracracy doesn’t.  “It’s always been this way, we can’t change it now.”  (Definitely roll eyes here)  The other TAs do not do both weeks before the exam.  I know because trust me, I hear about it.  Is following the schedule being prepared?  Is following the schedule not letting your students down?  Is following the schedule following curriculum?   Well if following the schedule is all of those things, I think I will continue to be unprepared, let my students down and not follow curriculum.  The students at least appreciate it.