Meeting the End-of-Term Rush

The final few weeks of term can be challenging for your students, as they prepare for exams and finish papers. You’ll have plenty to do, too! Here are some tips for meeting the challenges of the end of the term.
Final Course Work & Exams

  • Be prepared! You will likely be fielding many more emails and questions from students as they complete their final assignments and study for their exam.
  • Take time during tutorials to ask your students how their final projects are going. Have they developed from their feedback on assignments earlier in the term?
  • Consider whether holding an additional office hour (if your contract allows) will be useful to help students with their assignments. Schedule it the week before the assignment is due, to encourage students to prepare early.
  • Give your students a window of time during which they can contact you, perhaps up to 24 or 48 hours before the exam.
  • Lighten up the last tutorial by turning an exam review into trivia: ask your students to prepare questions in advance, and turn them into a Jeopardy!-style game.
  • “What’s going to be on the exam?” Only the instructor knows. But asking your students to propose sample questions can be an effective review exercise.

Tackling Your Grading Assignments

  • Ensure the instructor provides a grading key. If grading in a team of TAs, take some time after the assignments or exams come in to settle on a grading process you can all agree on. Keep in touch as you grade in case problems or inconsistencies arise.
  • Look over a few papers before you start, to get the general scope of the answers.
  • Avoid grading when tired or upset. Take a break when you need to, and return the grading when you feel more refreshed. Double-check your adding on exam papers.
  • Divide essays into piles for A, B, C, D-range answers at first, then narrow down the grades one pile at a time. Save prototypical papers in case the instructor would like to review the grading later.

Keeping Organized

  • Make sure you have saved both electronic and hard copies of your grades. Save your course emails for at least one more term, in case of any later inquiries or grade disputes. Take the final week to compile tutorial grades and attendance records.
  • Confirm with your instructor when grading should be finished. Submit grades on time!

Time For Reflection

  • Congratulations! You made it. Review your notes from the term. What parts of the course were most successful for you? What did the students respond to?
  • How has your teaching developed this term? What skills or new material have you learned? What will you build on during your next teaching assignment?
  • Did you receive an evaluation this term? Save it and build your Teaching Dossier!
Martha Harris, Trainer, TATP – © 2006