Friday, 23 August 2013

Running out of time?

I admit I am starting to feel nervous now. Most of my colleagues on Google + and Twitter are currently thinking of new ways to make their teaching and learning better for the new year, whereas here in NZ we are heading (too rapidly) towards the end of the year.
What this means is that my seniors (especially my L2 biology class) do not have a lot of year left to get all of that content into their heads prior to their external exams. There are now 5 weeks left of term 3 and term 4 will be ridiculously short from their point of view, as they are out on study leave early on and their actual exam is 22nd November. At which point, I just have to let go. Scary. Never gets easier, and I have done it quite a few times now.
My Level 1 science students won't be taking exams for me, however some of them have nothing much handed in yet this year and that worries me too. What can I do to get more engagement? I make myself available for most of the day through face to face time, email, Google + and Edmodo, and still movement seems to be at the slower end of things.
Thankfully, as my course notes and work is all online, students can access this at any time and in any place with internet access. This means not spending too much time talking to the whole class, but moving among the students and really working on a more personalised level. Another positive note is that my senior classes have within the last week or so really started to consider the lack of remaining time and are now beginning to shift towards getting work done AND handed in.
The funny thing is, this happens every year. How can we shift the students from the beginning of the year, rather than leaving it until just before the last minute? I don't think there is one easy panacea to the problem, but certainly moving towards far more individualised time in class for students (and outside via Google +) right from the start in 2014 might help. This means continuing building all of my courses entirely on the site- maybe even "flipping" a few lessons as a way of generating discussion.
One thing I do know, I am going to be busy over the next few weeks, and the summer holidays as well!