It's late Friday afternoon of week 6 in our 12 week semester, and I have finished classes for the week. Next week we have a Reading Week, the break from classes is welcome - not just for me, but for our students too.
I have shared with many friends and colleagues that I plan to retire next year in September, this is the first time I have publicly stated this intention. I can't help feeling after each class that it is unlikely that I will have to teach that day's topics again - it's a weird feeling. My Project Management, and two Statistics classes fall into this category. While I will not miss the PM module much, I will definitely miss the Stats one as it is my favourite module of all. I intend to enjoy the remaining six weeks as much as I can - I hope my students do too.
A Reading Week (notice we don't call it "mid-term break"!) is a chance for students, and Faculty, to recharge their batteries. They can catch up on continuous assessment tasks, revise what has been covered in the previous 6 weeks, and of course enjoy a break from classes. This is especially true for part-time students - many of whom work through the day, and come to us for evening classes. It's not really a reading "week", as the October Bank Holiday falls during this week - essentially it is a 4-day week. I would like to see studies done on the benefits (if any) of having a Reading Week. Overall I think it is a good idea. The first main benefit is that it is a convenient way of dealing with a week that has a Bank Holiday in it - classes will not have to be rescheduled. But I'd like to see the academic benefits for both students and Faculty. Inserting a week into semester I means that the last week of the semester is very close to Christmas - an already frantic time of the year. Many modules will have project submissions at the end of the semester, and the extra week will most likely help many students get their projects done. It always feels to me that semester I ends, and suddenly within a week it is Christmas.
So - enjoy the Reading Week and make the best use possible of it to enhance your learning experience!