End of Year Report

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Dear former TAs, virtual TAs, and any others who are listening:

I'm overdue for a report and was just thinking that last year at this time I would be enjoying hearing each TA give a report on their experiences of the fall term. So here's my report.

By the way, both Louise and I have been surprised that not once this fall have I had any strong feelings to be back teaching. I have so many other activities now that have taken teaching's place. But I do really appreciate hearing from so many of you here on the TA forum, by e-mail, and by visits. This fulfills my desire to keep in contact.

The German course finished a couple of weeks ago. I think all of us miss it but it will start again in early January. At one of the last classes, we had an exam and at the last class we were told our grade and received a certificate for completing the course. I received a grade of "gut" (not the highest possible grade) and I'll have to do better next term! Also at the last class, we organized a lunch (the class met 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and I gave a speech as a letter to the teacher, which I think was well received.

Earlier, in October, I had my inguinal hernia surgery. I was home the same evening and although I had some pain for a few days, it was manageable. However, only in the last couple of weeks have I felt completely back to normal. The effect of the anaesthetic certainly takes a long time to disappear. I lost about 5 kilos but have now gained it all back. My swimming and conditioning workouts at the Y are going well but not as frequently as I would like (too busy and, perhaps, getting too old).

“Jury duty” a couple of weeks ago was a bust, but had an unexpected bonus. About 400 of us waited in a large room. We were divided into four panels but during the first four days only two panels were called (and juries, presumably, selected from them). Each day we were let out early and, by Thursday noon, we were excused for the week (and told that we wouldn’t be called for jury duty for three years). The bonus? I spent the days in the jury room studying German! It’s great to have that much time without other commitments. I started reading “Hansel and Gretel”, one of the brother Grimms’ fairy tales. It had been suggested that reading a familiar story in German was a good exercise and I found this to be so.

The highlight of the last couple of months was the departmental retirement party for me, Sandra Pyke, and Paul Kohn. The speech I gave there has already been posted on the forum (here). It was wonderful to have so many of my former students there. From what I have heard, they enjoyed themselves too.

A short statistics question and then I will close. A month ago, the Globe and Mail included a lengthy booklet published by the U of T called the National Report. On page 2 there was a message from the president, Robert J. Birgeneau, which included the sentence “Our median first-year class size is 24”. How is this possible, given that so many of U of T’s classes are very large?

I close by thanking everyone who has taken the time to stay in contact with me and wishing you the best for the holiday season and for the new year.


-- Anonymous, December 17, 2002


Hi Guys, Paul, it was great to hear from you and I am glad that you are enjoying your retirement so much. I guess you too have suported the clain that you are never as busy as after you retire.

As for the statistics question, the only thing that I can come up with is that maybe those doing independant studies are considered a class of one, and thus bring down the median?

However, I really don't think that many first year students partake in independant studies and so I doubt that this is a correct solution?

Things with me are going well. I have been swamped this semester but I am going away for a week, over new years so I am hoping to relax and come back rejuvenated. HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!

Ryan Yermus

-- Anonymous, December 18, 2002

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