It's beginning to look a lot like.... finals!
I don't know about everyone else, but I'm starting to shift into 'wind down' mode! The last few assignments will be coming in shortly, the final reminders are being drafted, and my 'to-do' list is growing. And in less than 3 weeks it will be time to give Final Exams. Even though it has been *cough* a few years *cough* since I finished school myself, I still really enjoy the excitement around the end of the semester. The moment when the intersection of topics across classes 'click' for a student, the feeling when you meet a goal (be it an A, or an improved look to your ePortfolio ;) ), and that sense of accomplishment upon turning in (or clicking 'submit') to your final.
On the instructor side of things, and throughout the ePortfolio project, I have enjoyed seeing students develop their writing skills and critical thinking abilities this semester. I didn't blog as much as I had hoped, but I did see a lot of projects go from a general idea to a specific, supported presentation of facts. (Woohoo!) As 'Part 4' is submitted (Public Presentations-which in my classes range from Video Resumes, to Ad Analyes, to Training Presentations reviewing the need for inclusivity training in organizations) I am usually impressed with the creativity and depth a lot of my students display in their work.
The projects and papers at the end of the semester really display the students mastery of the class theory and topics. Sometimes the 'click' of things making sense to a student happens when they say things like "Oh, this will be a great sample to add to my ePortfolio, what do you think" or "I was telling my roommate about our project and they want to make a site too so I showed them how", and sometimes it's more simple-- a "thank you for making me do this, it helped me land my job I'll start next month". As teachers, those moments are what we live for, right?
Sure, it's not all rainbows and glitter-there are more emails to answer than hours in the day, and 'work-life balance' remains an illusive concept, but heading into the last few weeks reminds me that a break is around the corner. And like my students, I need to be 'present' to help them across the finish line.
(Plus it doesn't that hurt NCA is in Las Vegas this year, am I right?)
The winter break will include some work to be sure-- tweaking the assignments for clarity, reviewing class content to see where additional resources or readings might help explore a topic, but as the ePortfolio project goes on I am even more excited to share the approach with my colleagues and future students.
And now, back to grading...