Learning from the Semester

Steven Volk, November 25, 2013

As the semester races (or crawls) to a close, it’s a good time to think about capturing what you (as opposed to your students) learned from the semester.  Here are three different ways to track your teaching, each slightly more intensive. For the Shostakovich fans out there, I’ve labeled each so you can plan your time accordingly.


(1) End of Semester Reflections: Short, think of it as the Gadfly Suite, Op. 97a

While you can reflect on your teaching at any point of the semester (see nos. 2 and 3 below), there are two times that I have found to be particularly productive: Some 2-3 weeks before the semester ends (when you already have a very good sense about how the semester has gone), and about 2-3 weeks after the semester ends (once you have had a chance to read the student evaluations). Granted that everyone is unbelievably busy right now, try to set aside 30 minutes to begin to answer these questions (and return to them when you can). It is useful to engage in this process before you get student evaluations of your teaching. You want to think from your own perspective as to why the semester worked out as it did. Continue reading