As the new semester starts to roll in, and both students and teachers start falling back into a routine, it is important to first set goals to ensure the most amount of learning. Being able to step back and create a vision for the semester will help both teachers and students have something to work towards. When work starts to pile up and overbear, students or teachers may feel like giving up. But, having a picture of success in the back of the mind can help both students and teachers work through their challenges better and more efficiently.
While creating goals, both students and teachers should seek to make goals for things in their order of importance. Prioritizing things may help hold things in perspective throughout the semester. In creating a sense of order, creating goals in respect to priorities may help the student or teacher focus less on the superfluous details. It can be easy to focus on these details too much and get drawn away from the big picture and that which really matters. When creating these goals which shape the end picture of the semester, try to make them about the most important things you would like to achieve. Try to focus on setting no more than five goals so that you can focus on those five things. Then, for the following semesters, once you’ve been practicing those five goals and making them habitual, you could expand your goals to work on bettering your learning strategies in other ways. From prioritizing your goals then, you will be able to focus on the things that matter, and use those lessons to help you expand your abilities even more in the future.
When envisioning the semester and setting goals, reflecting on past experiences can be indispensable. One of the reasons why the freshmen first semester GPA is astoundingly low compared to the rest of the semesters at most colleges is because students learn from their past mistakes and use that information to better prepare them for the future. While the succeeding GPAs may not always increase or follow that pattern, students learning how they best comprehend material greatly influences their future learning habits by helping the student place himself in the best situation to succeed. Teachers do the same thing. They reflect on past teaching semesters, analyzing which activities really helped students understand things, and comprehending how to better fit those activities in the lesson plan. Sometimes it may be difficult to recognize that specific activities were not beneficial in the classroom, but being able to recognize this and change shows that you are both humble and want to change for the students’ benefit.
Thus, through reflection and intentional ordering, the student and teacher may prepare themselves for the coming semester. In reflecting, the student and teacher recognize their strengths, weaknesses, successes, and failures. Understanding those differences helps shape the learning curve for the succeeding semester. When the student or teacher prioritize goals for the semester, they place themselves in a better position to do well because they have fewer things to worry about. As long as they have a solid understanding of the big picture, and how to get there, they will be able to succeed.
Jessica De Gree
Jessica teaches English as a second language in Spain and plays basketball professionally there. She recently received her Bachelor's degree from Hillsdale College, one of the nation's top Liberal Arts schools in MI. At Hillsdale, she played basketball and studied English and Spanish. Some of her hobbies include reading, writing, painting, surfing, and playing the piano.