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From the Archives: Start Your Semester Off Right

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Beginning-of-semester and end-of-semester posts are something of a ProfHacker tradition, as well as the setting of resolutions for the new season. (See, for instance, last year’s From the Archives: New Semester, New Year and 2010′s Preparing for the First Week of Classes.) A few gems worth highlighting from some of these posts include:

In New Year’s Resolutions: Learning from Mistakes Edition, Amy reminds us of two key points about using a calendar to your best advantage:

  • Look at it every morning (or the night before, if you prefer)
  • Use the reminder feature in your digital calendar to alert you to any unusual events (or, if you don’t use a digital calendar, pre-schedule an email or text reminder).

Heather’s new semester checklist suggests transferring important academic year dates to your personal calendar now, well before they come up.

Kathleen’s sabbatical year resolutions focused on diet, exercise, and limiting her caffeine intake.  Even if you’re not on sabbatical, focusing on the wellness-related tips in From the Archives: in Sickness and in Health  can improve your semester.  George stocks up on non-perishable items at the grocery store now, to save time and effort later in the term.

Heather offers a useful checklist of supplies you might want to keep in your desk this semester. If you left your office without holding a Post-Semester Cleaning Party, maybe now is the time. George shares his tips for How to keep track of all those keys, as well as other items you need for teaching and working on campus.

Finally, Anastasia’s Teaching Resolutions for a New Semester offers three key points we can all benefit from:

  • “Be kinder to [your] future self, especially when scheduling deadlines”: if you can adjust your syllabi to avoid creating a grading pileup for yourself, or avoid having to grade over a holiday or conference trip, then by all means do so.
  • “Leave more wiggle room in the syllabus”: one way to do this is to schedule a catch-up day
  • “Be more flexible”: or, in other words, Don’t Let Productivity Stress You Out.

What do you do to start your semester off right? Let us know in the comments!

[Creative Commons licensed photo by Flickr user Todd Binger]

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