The Old College Try: Finals Week


And in the blink of an eye, final exams are here.

It seems only a few months ago, I was in front of two new groups of students at the beginning of a new year.  Now, classes have dwindled in size and the students left have that look in their eyes that says, “Are we there yet?”

Yes, we are.

I feeling a little anxious for this group of students as they are working on their final in-class writing essays and will be preparing for the final in-class reading exam.  I’ll be honest:  A part of me wants them to do well to reflect positively on my teaching for my department chair; but overall, I want them to get an academic “win.”

A number of my students have grown accustomed to classroom experiences that only validated a sense of their failure—sometimes they were to blame, other times… not so much.  Regardless, I want them to find some level of success:  earning their first real “B,” getting to be the “go to” person in their group discussions, or maybe just not being directly invalidated (and embarrassed) in front of the whole class by getting shot down—something.  I’ve joked about it, but it turns out there actually are teachers out there who shame students.  Wow.

So, finals are upon us all…at least, those of us in the field of teaching or learning.  I don’t have any time left to teach my students, so I guess I’m a little nervous about how they’ll do—will they see another source of invalidation or will they pull off “win?”

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About fhelvie

I live in CT with my wife and two sons. I am also writing my doctoral dissertation, which is focused on the relationship between American literature and comic book superheroes. I have served as a panelist at a number of conferences discussing my research in comics, medieval literature, and pedagogy. Most recently, I had the good fortune to present at the New York Comic Con. In addition to my work in comics scholarship, I'm also a full-time professor of developmental English.
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