Hey you! Yeah, you!
You made it to the end of the term!
I am so incredibly proud of you for all the hard work you’ve put in to make it to this point. No, I’m not proud of your productivity (but whatever you managed to do is awesome, too). I’m just glad that you are here!
I wanted to share with you something I’m doing this year that I wish to the high heavens I had done before.
This year I’m taking a minute (well, more like an hour) to make a note of all the things I want to change about this semester’s syllabus. I’m also scanning a couple of documents I want to use next time I teach this course.
It seems so simple, right? So obvious. So why have I never done it before?
Because the end of the semester is exhausting.
You’re probably tired.
You might be feeling guilty about how much you’ve focused on teaching instead of writing.
If you’re like most grad students I know then your immune system is probably crashing right about now, too.
Oh, yeah, and you need to plan your syllabus for next semester.
In short, there are a lot of reasons to tell yourself that you’ll revise your syllabus after the holidays or during the next semester or over the summer.
However, these are the whispers of the devil.
You will not do it later.
Later, you will be as overwhelmed as you are now but with different stuff.
Later, you will have forgotten the little things that you wanted to change about this semester.
Later, you will forget what exciting new sources you wanted to include in your syllabus the next time you taught it.
Do the thing now.
You don’t have to totally revise your syllabus.
Take the time you have: 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes–whatever you’ve got.
In that time, go through your syllabus and leave comments about what you want to change. Do it now so that you don’t just change the big things but get the little things that, if tweaked, would make your life much easier.
Make notes about sources you want to change. If it’s a digital source include a link in the comment.
If you have the time to scan hardcopy sources then do that. If you don’t then make a list of what sources you want to use (and, if you have time, where to find them). If you have the sources on hand but don’t have time to scan them then stick a post-it note on them saying “To scan for CLASS.”
Believe me, your future self will thank you.