Helping Students Gain from Finals Week

It is important to attempt and succeed in arduous things.  And that's why I think it a good idea to take a finals week as seriously as an epic contest.  One can synthesize and learn so much from a finals week properly carried out.  But, of course, worry can ruin this week!  When I was a student I really appreciated how some teachers came in and cooked us breakfast for dinner.  This stamped the week as something important.

So one year I ran three-hour study sessions for the courses I was teaching.  During the finals I gave, I made coffee for the students and put out bottled water and juice.  I doled out donuts, chocolate, and vacation reading lists (because they should keep reading, even if that's the last thing they want to do!  I wanted them to recognize study for the luxury and pleasure it really is).  For the whole student body, I ran a free espresso bar in the mornings and set out a spread on the penultimate night of finals week--trail mix, popcorn, and two huge coolers full of delicious juices and seltzer water.  (Give them protein and Vitamin C!  I always caught a cold during the finals week of my student days.)  On the wall near all this good stuff, I posted giant quotations that the students would recognize and love--

From the St. Crispin's Day speech in Henry V:  " . . . He who sheds his blood with me today . . ."
From Joan of Arc:  "God will find me a way.  I was born for this."
and finally, from El Cid, the morning of the great and terrible battle:  "What a good day this is going to be!"

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