Battle stations, Red Alert, Action Stations. Whatever the terminology, it’s a call to action, but in order to even get to the point of action, a certain amount of readiness is needed. When I took over the classes for my colleague, my teaching load went up to 5 courses. This was a considerable load of classes, compounded by the fact that I had to play catch up for two of them by figuring out what they knew, what was scored, and what was left to do in the courses.
A normal adjunct teaching load is 3 classes a semester, and I was nearly double that, plus the extra work of teaching classes in progress. I wouldn’t have been able to handle the new load if it weren’t from the fact that I had my own classes in-hand.
I also tend to structure my classes in a way that makes the very end less eventful. I try to get all of the major projects done before the end, then offer a chance to rewrite if they wish. This makes the situation easier on me as all the major grading is completed before the end, and on the students as well who will be swamped with other projects.
For me, this kind of structure and preparation is what keeps me at battle stations.