Teaching Tips

Make it count

A colleague and I were discussing how to support a group of students as the semester winds down.  We started thinking through which conversations to have with them.  Do we have the “make a goal and stick to it” talk?  Do we encourage them to make an action plan?  As we continued talking, my colleague started doing the math for the semester.  She said that if we have 6 weeks left in the term, and they attend a M, W, F class, that means they only have 18 classes left before exams.  If the students have a T, Th class, then they only have 12 classes left.  And the last one, the humdinger, is that if the students have a Monday night class, they only have 6 classes left.

As we discussed this, it made me realize that it might be time to have the “make it count” talk.  The students only have a few classes left, so what are they are going to bring to the table?  What are we as professors going to bring to each of our classes? This is a good time to take a moment to reflect with your students and by yourself to remember all of the ups and downs of the semester.  Now, remember that you only have the remaining classes left.  So what are you going to do to make every class or moment count?

While I sit and write this post, I’m wondering what I can do in my courses and with my assignments to really make the last meetings meaningful to the students.  I’m thinking of integrating more of their perspectives and ideas into the lessons.  I am checking the surveys I had them take for hints about what they need.  To this end, I will definitely need to make the most of every lesson.  What is my purpose? What is my rationale? I will be working to make every moment and opportunity in my course count.  What will you do to make the rest of the semester a time of significant progress for your students?

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