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Finals From A Teacher's Perspective

The nation has just waded through its third high tide of coronavirus cases, cementing the infeasibility of returning to on-campus learning for most California schools.

At Glendora High School, this means that upcoming finals in December will be conducted online. However, with shortened class periods and Wellness Wednesdays, most teachers have been under a time crunch to adjust their timetables without overly compromising their curriculums.

Pam Edward, who teaches AP Research and AP Government/Economics at GHS, faces several dilemmas in planning for her finals.

“I cannot lose another day, because we won’t be finished with the curriculum [by finals week] and I already cut so much out to get the basics covered.”

While GHS teachers have been given a finals calendar, like Edward they are faced with the prospect of losing out on already limited class time to accommodate a two-hour block for finals.

If the teacher is having a final at all, students may expect to see several alternatives to a traditional cumulative final exam. Some classes may have a personal or group project — what Edward is doing for her AP Research class — while others may use a unit test as the final.

Since course content varies from class to class, students looking to gauge their finals would benefit the most from reaching out to their teachers early on.

Regardless of whether there will be formal finals, studying in general has presented its own difficulties for students adjusting to distance learning.

“Get organized,” Edward advises, “I know that sounds kind of cliche, but… you want to have your things labeled; you want to make sure all the basic stuff is on one table.”

Of course, a balanced school life can’t be all about studying. Especially for seniors with approaching college application deadlines, allocating time for relaxation away from the desk goes a long way to relieve stress.

For Edward, “just getting out of [her] zone for a while and going for a bike ride or walking downtown” helps to unwind from a long school day.

Watching bad Netflix also helps, she notes.

As students and teachers alike reach the home stretch of first semester, tension from deadlines and coursework are also reaching a crescendo. With the current situation, communication and diligent planning are tried-and-true methods to handling difficult situations. But when it is all said and done, what’s more important is taking care of your physical and emotional health: long showers, journaling, or even bad Netflix — there are no wrong answers.


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