/  By  / 

Fall Semester Reflection #4: Office Hours

favicon One of the reasons all my students passed last semester is that I intervened early. I identified four struggling students and encouraged them to attend office hours after school every Tuesday.

For the most part, they did — and their effort paid off. In addition to my support, my students each got a personal grammar coach to help them one-on-one with their writing. It was pretty neat.

Now that it’s Winter Break, I’m trying to figure out how I can best use my lunch and after-school time to support my students. After all, besides the students I forced, only a few others attended office hours regularly. That left me underutilized.

If my students really want to pass the AP test, they will need to extend their learning day. And they will need me to push them.

My current idea is to split up my class into five groups and to have them attend office hours as a cohort once per week for 30 minutes. At our weekly meetings, we’d do a variety of activities, depending on what we’re doing in class or based on the group’s needs.

Thirty minutes a week doesn’t sound like much, but I’m hopeful that the time will lead to additional learning opportunities outside office hours. Right now, my students don’t naturally depend on each other for support. By introducing this structure, I am hopeful that we’ll see some momentum, some urgency.

On the negative side, by mandating that my students attend — and by prescribing how we’ll work together — I do run the risk of being less available for students when their curiosity (or anxiety) emerges naturally. It’s possible that their intrinsic motivation will decline.

What do you think? How should I organize office hours next semester? favicon

Please share your brilliant insights!