It’s time to focus on the first year IB students

Many of us will still be teaching first year students for at least another month but at this point, we seem so focused on the students about to take their IB exams.  This is a golden opportunity as you can focus your energies on year 1.  The students will appreciate the attention, as they are often eclipsed at this time of the year.

It’s really easy to get hung up on examination preparation but now is when we need to transition ourselves to focusing on the Year 1 students – who will soon be Year 2 students.  If you only teach first year students, put together a check-list to give to the second year teacher so they know what you have done this year.  If you only teach second year students review the work that you’ve done this year and tag things that worked well, need some fine tuning and perhaps need to be sent to the recycle bin.  If you teach both years, think about the transition.  What did students do well?  How can you support them in improving?  Do units need to be carried over to the next year?  Do you need to read up on certain areas of the curriculum over the summer when there aren’t pressing deadlines that get in the way?  Is there something you have always taught but is maybe losing its relevance?  Is there something you always wanted to teach but couldn’t find the time?  Now is the time to consider revising your syllabus.  After all, it is easier to make plans for change when the summer is in front of you than when it is the new school year.

Have you put together a semester or end-of-year exam?  Is it an essay test?  Do you include some multiple choice to make sure that the students know the material?  Is there any source evaluation?  One part of teaching Year 1 students is to build the skills that they need to prepare themselves for Year 2.  Just as it is a relief to have well-prepared students entering the program, it is equally reassuring to know that the students have been prepared.  A test at the end of the year will let you know what they learned, and where you may need to concentrate next year.

Review the content you covered: was it enough or too much?  Have you made it to Goldilocks land and it is just right?  Wonderful!

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