Tuesday Teaching Question

So we’re in Week 11.  This is always an interesting time in the semester given that midterm grades are in, the weather’s getting colder, Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away and the end of the semester is near.  I figured we’d keep things very practical this week.  I’ve got 2 questions.  Let’s see if we get a few more responses this week than last (though reinvention is a hot topic and as such the TTQ from last week was ultimately ignored).  Anyway, here goes.

1.  What do you do in this final quarter of the semester to keep yourself motivated?  If the semester is a marathon, how do you break through the potential wall of the end of the semester without rushing to the finish line?

2.  What do you do to keep students interested at this point in the semester?  This may not be disjoint from what you’ve been doing already.  The question is really asking if you do anything special or attempt to pull out all the stops.  Perhaps this depends upon the arc of your course, but nonetheless, it would be interesting to hear how faculty “handle” these potentially challenging weeks.

Bonus question

How do you respond to the oh-so-typical question, “what are my chances of passing your course?”



P.S.  The last day for student initiated withdrawal is 2 weeks from yesterday (Nov. 15).

One thought on “Tuesday Teaching Question

  1. In many ways, I feel like after midterm, the class really gets started. I design it that way, I guess. We spend the first few weeks getting to know the material, the readings, each other, the routine of the class sessions, the online life of the class…that kind of thing. I have several, in most classes weekly, assignments throughout the first half of the semester and I give lots of feedback on each. Students know the life of the class by midterm.

    Somewhere around week 7 or 8, the big assignments begin. These are long-term projects that students will spend the rest of the semester building. In many cases, all of the smaller assignments in the first half, are part of the big project during the second half (they revise the work they did earlier based on my feedback and then fit those pieces into the bigger project).

    This seems to work well because we talk about and anticipate those big projects all semester and students are excited to finally start them plus they feel like they already have a head start because they have already done lots of pieces of the bigger work – this is a huge part of what motivates them to continue…I think.

    I like this time of the semester because all the getting to know you stuff is under our belts. In some ways, I’ve tried to figure out who each student is and what supports they need (I try to do this – much easier with smaller classes). Also, they have gotten to know me – that I mean it when I say “no late papers” and “yes” to lots of extra support in class, online, on the phone – whatever. They all get to know the fact that I have terrible handwriting and tend to misspell things on the board – everyone has to be on the look out for misspelled words because I halfway jokingly tell them they all lose points if they leave a misspelled word on the board without notifying me!

    It’s a good teaching question and I don’t know if I’ve answered it. i tend to get excited at this point in the semester and I hope that is a little bit contagious in class. I tell them how cool these projects are and talk a lot about the process of developing them and how we all get to participate in the building of this good work in the field of early childhood education.

    thanks, that was fun to reflect on!

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