However, for those of us in academia spring is also about endings. As professors, not only must we be concerned about how we end the academic year, we must take care to help our students end the year well.
Here are a few tips to help the spring semester come to a smooth close:
Unclog the paper jam. In the flurry of late submissions and our own deadlines, remember to keep up with grading. Do a few papers or tests every day–even if you’re tired, even if the day is hectic. You’ll be thankful you did.
Take good care. It might seem like good idea to work extra long hours. Grabbing tasty yet nutritionally questionable food may appear a good solution to a hectic day.
Remind students of upcoming deadlines. As the spring term takes its final bow, students are dizzy from managing final term papers, tests, exams—none of which are less important than what they owe you. Nothing new there, except this time they’re also thinking about summer fun, preparing for graduation or looking for jobs. Sometimes all of the above. It’s tempting to leave them to their own devices to sink, float or swim.
But our obligation to support our students doesn’t end just because the semester is over. Offer reminders in the form of periodic emails and announcements. It will also enable the students to prioritize their work and save you at least a few late submissions.
Smile. It’s hard to be miserable with a smile on your face. It’s a gift our bodies give us. An article on the Psychology Today Blog explains that smiling releases neurotransmitters that make us feel good: dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. As an added bonus, they help us feel less stressed. Smiling is also contagious, so when you smile others experience a better mood–your students included.
Taking steps to end the academic year well also sets the stage for smooth transitions toward the new beginnings our students will experience. It also creates positive and hopeful expectations for the academic rebirth–fall semester.