I spent the last seven years on the quarter system—two years working at Portland State University and five years as a graduate student at the University of Washington. People sometimes ask me: so, like, which is better? Quarters or semesters?
Simple answer: semesters.
Teaching on the quarter system, you have to order books three times a year, prepare syllabi three times a year, and each class you teach runs up against the time constraint that means you can never quite get where you could in those nine or ten weeks. Teaching on the semester system, you feel much less on the assembly line, much more able to build and build and build throughout the semester. Sixteen weeks is a lifetime compared to ten.
But one thing that does not change is The Stare I always see at the end of the year. The Stare is the look students wear as the end of the third quarter/second semester comes near. The Stare says let it be over, let me rest, let summer take all this away. And it's out there this week, The Stare, with just 2.5 weeks to go.