Energy ebbs and flows throughout a semester and academic year. Midway through the semester, you and your students are familiar with course schedules and have established routines. At this point, energy and engagement may wane a bit as major projects and grading are “piling up.” Take a moment to reflect on sources of energy: what factors boost and drain your energy and engagement? What about your students? Students may be experiencing stress because they earned a “bad” grade.
Energy and engagement are influenced by many aspects of life. We are still adjusting and recovering from the prolonged stress and disruption of the pandemic. Some of our students began college under lock-down and social distancing policies or may have earned lower than expected grades at mid-term. Our overall wellness encompasses factors such as emotional, occupational, and social well-being that can increase or decrease energy and engagement. Attending to our energy needs and helping students address their challenges can foster an improved sense of overall well-being and help us be more effective in and out of the classroom. Also, helping students reflect on their grades and plan for a more successful approach to their coursework can help maintain energy, engagement and a positive attitude throughout the semester.
Student disengagement is prevalent, and we are struggling to handle it. Data indicate that social anxiety rose significantly in the fall of 2021. Avoidance may be a coping strategy our students are using. Building relationships with our students and helping support their needs can positively impact engagement.
This article suggests measuring the value of a college education beyond getting a decent job and increasing earning potential to focusing on the value of a college education correlated with well-being throughout life. Data indicate that students who reported having a person who cared about them as an individual experienced higher levels of well-being during and well beyond their college years.
This guide provides a broad approach for actions we can take at our own pace, aligned with our abilities, to feel better and live longer. Eight interrelated dimensions of wellness are explained. Consider how your wellness factors may have been impacted by COVID-19 and connect with the issues to ponder, resources, and worksheets to improve your overall wellness.
Choose one of the following strategies to implement
To fight against burnout, support students by encouraging them to address their basic needs, validating their feelings and needs, and investing in their mental health. Let them know that it’s ok to go to the Huskie Food Pantry. Ask students to use one of the NIU support resources and prepare a short reflection about their experience. How did they use the resource? What went well? How could they continue to use the resources to support their college success? What other resources might they need/use? Encourage students to stay engaged by staying involved with the Huskie community and have them submit a short reflection about their experience.
Mid-semester is a good time for students to review the first half of the semester and develop a plan for the remaining weeks before final exams. Students may be experiencing stress due to earning lower grades than they expected, challenges balancing multiple priorities, or decisions about academic and social commitments. To help students plan for success, create a mid-semester assignment that asks students to reflect on their grades and study habits, learn from mistakes, and identify actions they can take to support their success and keep a positive attitude throughout the course
You and your students may select one dimension of wellness, read the corresponding resources, and complete the worksheet to identify what to work on to improve that aspect of wellness and/or mental health. This activity can reenergize you and your students.
Energy levels vary throughout the semester for different reasons. Here are some resources to support the energy levels and well-being of you and your students, and actions students can take after earning a "bad" grade.
Please review the resources and select at least one of the recommended strategies to implement. Make a note to yourself about the strategy you used and the impact that it had.
In two weeks, we will share resources on increasing response rates on course evaluation surveys. If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, feel free to let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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