Teaching & Learning in 2020
Congratulations; you made it. Today marks the end of Fall 2020 classes, and only finalsremain. Soon we’ll have a well-deserved and much-needed break—at least from teaching. Faculty and students alike have been commenting that they feel like we’ve been running one long marathon semester since spring. As we reflect on all we’ve been through this year—a global pandemic, political upheaval, social unrest, an economic crisis, and sudden and dramatic changes to the ways we teach and learn—it really seems like too much to process, and frankly, we’re all quite right to feel exhausted.
We’re also to be congratulated and admired for making it through the marathon, and even if many of us are limping toward the finish line, we have more to celebrate than simply enduring. We may not have a handle on it yet, but we’ve grown. We’ve adapted. We’ve evolved. Reluctantly, in many cases, we’ve learned new skills and strategies; we’ve found strength we didn’t know we possessed. Our students have proved remarkably resilient—and so have we.
Many of us have been reading the good news about effective Covid-19 vaccines and dreaming of a return to normalcy (or maybe something better). Although most of us will be thrilled and grateful to eventually return to full classrooms, once it’s safe to do so, the way we teach may never be the same. It may be better. We’ve learned new technologies, which will come in handy in more situations than holding class sessions on Zoom. We’ve developed new strategies for keeping students engaged, and for guiding their reasoning and development , which will inflect the assignments we give in the future. We may have developed more highly structured learning experiences that we can use in future iterations of our courses, regardless of modality. To help our students become successful remote and online learners, we’ve had to be more transparent in our communication, especially around instructions and expectations, and we can use our clarified approaches and materials in the future. Most importantly, over the last eight months, we’ve taken care to build in moments to check in with students, to show them our humanity and our compassion, and we’ve seen how valuable these gestures are. We’ve been reminded, in powerful ways, of the value of our community, and we’ve found new ways to preserve and sustain it.
As you reflect back on this semester, and this year, we encourage you to think about how much you’ve developed and accomplished as a teacher, even when it was difficult. You’ve shepherded your students through the toughest semester of all our lives, and they are grateful. So are we.
Thank you for all you do. And congratulations.
Spring 2021 Syllabus Clinics
We’ll be holding open Syllabus Clinics before classes begin on Wednesday, Jan. 6th. You can drop in during any of the times below to discuss your syllabus, how you’ve designed your course, how you plan to use class time, or any other aspect of your teaching. In the meantime, we’re also available for one-on-one consultations with anyone who would like to work on spring planning. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to working with you!
- Monday, January 4, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
- Tuesday, January 5, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.