Today’s Five Minute Friday is “Reflect” –
Right now, as the semester ends, I always take some time to reflect back on how it went. In the past few years, I have been so stressed out that it is always painful to reflect back and realize all the things that slipped through the cracks. The things I wanted to do, planned to do, tried to do and failed. But, this semester is a bit better. It wasn’t perfect, for sure. But, overall, I feel like the classes were better. The students were more engaged. The assignments were a TON better. I have things that I definitely want to change moving forward, but there is a lot I want to remain the same. So, that is a nice feeling.
Reflecting back on each semester is important. Although each semester is vastly different because the students are different, there is a lot to be learned by looking back and taking stock. It isn’t always easy. Some semesters I would prefer to just forget. Forget the mistakes. Forget the students. Forget it all. But, I feel good that it isn’t true of this semester. I am still overwhelmed. I am still behind. But, not nearly to the extent I have been in the past and I feel like I have a grip on where things started to falter and I can start looking at how to fix that.
One thing that I’m attempting to do more in my class planning is really focus on the learning objectives for the class. I think sometimes I get distracted by concepts in the textbooks or things that the students get focused on and I lose sight of what is truly important. So one of my reflections this semester is going back and categorizing every reading, every assignment, every concept by learning objective. I still need to get rid of some things in order to have enough time to allow the students to work on problems related to the material and have discussions and I think the best way of doing that is to narrow things down through the filter of the learning objectives. We’ll see how it goes…now and next semester!