A teacher’s perspective on finals week

Sophie Zehner, Managing Editor

Finals week is sneaking up on us all fast.

Students are cramming every lesson and note in their minds, preparing for the grueling week ahead. However, most don’t think about how teachers prepare for finals week. Not only are they planning on what’s going to be on their final itself, but they have to finish grading assignments and entering in grades by the time the semester ends.

Though they get extra time to enter in their grades, teachers don’t want to be doing work over break, because that’s their time to relax and be with their families too.

As finals veer around the corner, teachers are informing students on what exactly the final is going to be on and how much of a weight the final has on their overall grade.

Obviously, teachers, based on their departments, set either a heavy or light weight on their finals.

“My English final this year works at about 15% of their grade,” says junior English teacher Mr. Campbell.

Ms. Brown, an Enochs Spanish teacher, says “My finals weigh 15% of their overall grade. I put one project in the first quarter in that category and then an oral final and a written final.”

For some teachers, like Ms. Brown, if a student has a 95% or higher in their grade, then they are exempt from their written final as a reward for having a good grade this semester.

Like students, teachers also have to prepare for finals. Though they don’t have to take a test, they still have to put in grades. Teachers’ deadlines to enter their students’ grades aren’t until the first Wednesday when we come back from Winter Break. However, most try to get their grades done so they don’t have to worry about it when they come back.

Students tend to find themselves struggling with having the right study method. Some either study for hours at a time, which leaves them tired and burnt out. Others study very little and don’t feel ready on finals’ day.

Mr. Campbell believes that students should follow, “The Pomodoro Method. Let’s say you are studying for finals. Study for 30 minutes and then take five minutes to get up, walk out of the room… and then come back after 5 minutes. If you do it for too long, your brain doesn’t process the variations in differences and what you’re looking at…”

“I always say it’s better to start preparing in advance. So a little bit each day helps overall,” Ms. Brown says.

The overall purpose of finals is for teachers to see what their students have learned and how much they’ve retained that information. Some have learned a lot while others are behind.

Ms. Brown feels that, “If they’ve been participating all year long, then it’s not so bad. They can show that they understand. If they’ve been struggling all year, and are still struggling, it doesn’t usually help them at all.”

“I like the reason we give finals, because it’s supposed to be a measurement of whether or not students learned what we wanted them to learn. The question is achieving that goal. I think that it depends on the type of final, the type of class you’re getting into, etc.,” states Mr. Campbell.

Most have an issue with the finals schedule. Though we have two finals a day, they’re each two hours long and we have less than a fifteen minute break in between.

“I do miss the old finals schedule, but I do like the two finals a day. I think that makes sense. I like a couple of days before so we can review,” Ms. Brown says.

“I feel like our lunch break is shorter by five minutes which will be interesting. Getting out at 12:50 as opposed to last year, it was 12:30, but it’s only 20 minutes longer. I kind of wish that we had finals Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and have the next two days off, but we can’t really start with a final on a Monday,” comments Mr. Campbell.

Another thing that students don’t realize is that, depending on the class, teachers have other important work other than entering grades…

“One thing that students don’t realize is, especially in every class here, it’s really two classes. For [my journalism class] we’re in Journalism 3 right now. We come back from Christmas break we’re going to be in Journalism 4. That’s a whole new Schoology page and Powerschool class, which means you have to set all of that stuff up. So there’s work that teachers do over Christmas break the student doesn’t even realize that they grade finals, and on top of all of that are just working the entire time,” mentions Campbell.

It must be nice for students to know that they aren’t the only ones stressing and preparing for finals, their teachers are too.