Thoughts at the end of the term

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope you are having a lovely day. It is the end of the term here and that always puts me into a reflective mood. So today, I want to share a few reflections with you about this term as well as some end-of-the-year lists before wishing you a very happy holiday, so let’s get on with it.

This has been an incredibly busy fall term. It has been busier than any of my past terms. I made two trips to Southern California for grant-required workshops (although luckily Collin ended up driving, so I only had to navigate-thanks, Collin!), a trip to Monterey for Internet Librarian (fantastic, techie conference which I highly recommend), and a trip to Laguna Niguel for the Women’s Leadership Institute (also a fabulous conference). Oh, and my sister got married. So it was a little busy and I’m looking forward to the holiday break.

On top of the traveling, I was teaching two classes on information literacy for freshmen along with the other usual assortment of librarian duties. To say that I was a bit overwhelmed at times is an understatement. To say that if I didn’t have a couple of synced Google Calenders to my phone I would have been lost on any given day is not an understatement. But, overall, I’d have to say it was a very good term.

I learned from my students, which is always as it should be, and hopefully my evaluations will reflect that my students learned from me. They created amazing online tutorials showcasing their many talents and expertise in everything from playing the guitar to creating origami hearts. It was a great opportunity to combine what they were learning about information literacy in the classroom to further their knowledge and skills on something they already love. This quarter again underscored for me the importance of making everything relevant to my students’ lives outside of the classroom.

This quarter also re-emphasized for me the importance of building in time for reflection in the learning process. This is the second year that I’ve required my students to write weekly reflections about their learning and how they can apply what they’ve learned to their other classes and to their lives. It has been a great success and I feel that the students are engaging with the materials more fully because of this reflection space.

Finally, this quarter has again reinforced that teaching is about being genuinely interested in one’s students and honestly wanting to help them learn. It is exhausting, fun, time-consuming, interesting, and life-changing work and I can’t imagine not teaching. And, if I do a really good job, my students catch some of this excitement for learning too and use it in their coming terms and throughout their lives.

So now, on to the lists. Lifehacker has been posting numerous “best of” lists in the past few days. I highly suggest you check them out and get to some fun over the holidays. I suggest the following to get you started: Most popular top 10s of 2011, Most popular photograph tips, tricks, and hacks of 2011, and Top 10 ways to create a more focused and productive work environment.

Finally, I leave you with one of my favorite short, holiday videos ever featuring the Doctor, naturally:

I wish you a very happy holiday and wonderful new year, dear readers! I will be taking a rest from blogging until the new year. Until then, relax, read some good books, send friends and family members a handwritten note, and bake something lovely to share with someone you love. I’ll be back in 2012 with more library, archives, and tech news and notes. Allons-y!