Right about now both students and instructors start to feel the mid-semester burn. The energy of the beginning of term subsides and the weight of work and expectations begins to weigh on students. How can we help ourselves and our students reset?
Try having at least one day or activity that breaks from the normal mold. For example, instead of lecturing have students work in small groups to explain a concept then report the results back to you. A speed dating format where students meet in 5-minute intervals can also keep things interesting. If you started off the semester with a goal worksheet have students to a mid-semester check-in to assess their progress. Are they meeting their own expectations or are there actions that can be taken to get back on track?
For instructors, it can seem that the mid-semester is a wall to be overcome. Try taking scheduling a 5-minute break mid-day to go outside and reset, if going outside isn’t an option there are hundreds of nature relaxation videos online that are accompanied by natural sounds. Another stress reducer tip is to create a prioritized to-do list starting with the one item that must get done to make everything else runs smoothly. Focus on that item and then move on to the next.
Finally, to help students with test anxiety, give students 5 minutes at the end of class to set-up study groups. Working in groups can help boost retention of material by giving students an opportunity to discuss and explain concepts with peers. And for those students willing to try something out of the box, Math Mama Writes provides a guided meditation on her blog to aid in success on math tests:
Lauren Biehle from the University of Wyoming also shared this tip: “Use the structure from games you know and enjoy, then overlay your educational concepts! Games can go beyond jeopardy! Try out catchphrase, card games, escape rooms, and more! Teaching is a fantastic way to be creative and have fun doing it!”