Friday, January 25, 2013

Final Exams

We've hit the mid point of the school year so that means it is time for final exams!

I have never been a fan of exams.  Taking them or giving them.  I'm more of a final project kind of person, especially in my subject area.  As an art teacher I feel that the best way to determine whether my students have learned anything or retained any knowledge is to see how they apply what they've learned to a creative project.  However, during this time in education, the written word and the measurable test is the preferred method of verifying that our students have learned anything.

Although this is not something I believe really myself, I do give a written final since it is required.  I do try to incorporate some more hands on components in an attempt to keep the creativity in there which is what I really am 'grading.'

So twice a year, I sit in a silent classroom - no music or chitchat - and watch my students finish a written final.  It is a long week...

...and so is next week.  Why? The start of a whole new semester with all new students.  It's like the beginning of the year all over again!  Syllabi, scheduling conflicts, and learning another 100 or so new names is what is in store for me next week.  It is exciting to get new students and start fresh, but its also hard to say good-bye to the really great classes I had that were just gaining momentum!

The Spring semester always seems like the hardest of the two.  It is not the beginning of the year, so the students tend to be slow to getting started and are not as 'enthusiastic' as they tend to be in September.  The Spring also brings additional challenges - disruptions from testing, more vacation time and seniors leaving early.  I feel like I never accomplish as much in the Spring.

But the warmer weather will be coming, which means potential for more outdoor assignments.  There are things to look forward to.  I need to work on keeping my motivation up to get ready for the beginning again.  The school year is already half way over and it will be summer before we know it.

After all this freezing whether lately, summer can't come soon enough.