The hallways are bustling with commotion. Students are scurrying around trying to find a study group location or a place to sit quietly and work. There are a flurry of incoming emails asking what can be done in order to improve grades. The anxiety in the air is so thick that it permeates your being. Finals must be coming.
On Monday, finals at VCU will begin. You can tell the students are stressed out as they realize that the largest portion of their grade will likely rest in this one exam at the end of the semester. I understand how worried they are, and I empathize with them.
On the other hand, this and next weeks are also the busiest weeks of the semester for most professors. You are left tying up loose ends, reviewing an entire semester worth of material, trying to answer a flurry of emails and keep yourself from while in the middle of a lecture.
I had hoped to write out some suggestions for making through this week during the week; however, I, as usual, underestimated the amount of work that I would have to get done. Therefore, I will try to create this list after the fact, so that at the end of next semester I can reread this in order to help me get through this penultimate week of classes.
Challenges to conquer
While I cannot hope to address all the wonderful challenges that are presented during the week prior to finals, I can at least get a list made of the different issues that tend to arise. In later posts, we will look into each of the issues more precisely. The major challenges I have faced this week are:
- The increased number of student emails.
- What will my grade be?
- Can I do extra credit?
- What do I need to get on the final.
- Can I make up or turn in old work?
- Can you just give me an A?
- Increased students during office hours.
- Getting to see them for the first time outside of class.
- Trying to work with them on an entire semesters worth of material.
- Determining what the student does or does not understand in order to appropriately help them.
- Addressing requests for additional office hours.
- Finishing uncompleted grading.
- Finalizing grades prior to exams.
- Trying to become over anxious about the daunting amount of grading you will have to do next week.
As the semester comes to a close, there is a lot to do. Inevitably this causes anxiety among teachers and students alike. While I’ve listed some of the challenges I’ve faced this past week, there are still many more out there. Furthermore, there will be plenty left to do during finals themselves.If there is something I missed, or if you’d like to add concerns to the list, please comment below to let me know. You can also directly contact me and I will relay your comments. I hope that as I try to share some of the ways I’ve handled these issues in the past, you will also join in and share what has worked for you. Throughout this series of posts, we will all learn something to help us in this stressful time.