What follows is a copy of the handout I give on the second to last day of class. I have found that this is a great way to say goodbye, to provide closure to all the struggles and successes that occurred throughout the semester, and to celebrate the growth that students have realized in such a short time. On the last day, I give students rough estimates of their final course grades, have a little going away party which generally includes some sort of food (donuts if morning, pizza if afternoon), and then we just talk. One of the things I always ask is if anyone wants to share the things they've written about in their Course Reflection. This always starts a great, light-spirited conversation which gives way to reminiscing over the short time we've spent together, and provides a forum to say goodbye in a very positive way.
This last enrichment assignment will require a little writing. In the passback folder, you should find the autobiography that you wrote at the beginning of the semester. To begin this assignment, read through what you wrote back then, and think about what you have accomplished this semester. Did you meet your goals? Did you overcome any anxieties? I also want you to think about how your autobiography has changed over the course of this semester. In other words, if your math teachers ask you to write an autobiography for them next semester, what might it include that this one did not?
Secondly, I'd like to know what you thought about this course. By now you may have already filled out an evaluation form (if not you will soon), but I am especially interested in the things you liked and disliked. What went well and didn't go well. What would you change? If a friend approached you asking about your ULC 146 experience, what would you tell them?
Lastly, and most importantly, I would like you to include some advice to the students I will have next semester. Please list and discuss at least 3 things you feel my students must do in order to be successful in a course with me. What advice would you give them?
I have given you a little bit to think about here, but this will be the most important enrichment for me. I am always looking for ways to make classes better and I truly enjoy reading criticism, especially negative. Your grade in this course in no way depends on the things you criticize me for. Basically, if you hand this enrichment in and respond to the questions I have presented you with, you will receive full credit. You all have benefitted from the comments of all the classes I've taught before you, and it is important that I get your feedback so that future classes can benefit from your insights. If there are things other than what I've written above that you would like to include, please do. Your comments are invaluable to me.
Let me close by saying that I have enjoyed working with each of you this semester. I appreciate all the hard work that you have put into this course. I realize that the enrichments were often fairly challenging, but I designed them that way with the hopes that you might have learned to appreciate and enjoy mathematics and the feeling you get from finally solving a challenging problem. So in closing, let me say, Thank You all for a terrific semester, and I hope you won't be strangers.
Best wishes for continued success!!!