As the academic term is winding down for most (and for some, summer term has started), it’s time to reflect on what happened. Have you taken some time to do that? After you’ve gotten some rest and relaxation, of course!
-What new skills did you learn (by choice or by necessity), either for teaching or for interacting with members of your department and university?
-Are there ways you can continue to build on those new skills?
-How can you use those skills in your future pedagogy?
-What did you enjoy about the last two or so months of teaching?
-What did you come to detest about the last two or so months of teaching?
-What did you learn about how you handle unexpected change? How you need support? How you offer support to others?
-How did your pedagogy change (I’m assuming that it had to, at least in some ways!) during this time of staying-at-home-teaching?
-How did you manage the changing workload this academic term brought? What time management steps did you learn? Wish you had learned?
-How have your relationships with others at your institution changed over the last few months?
-What did you learn about your communication style and how others react to it?
About Your Students
-How did they rise to the changes in your courses?
-What strengths did you see in them?
-How did they cope with the transition to being away from campus, if they were primarily an on-campus population?
-How many online campus services did they access?
-What new skills did they learn (or were forced to learn) in order to continue with the term?
-How can you create future class content to leverage their new skills?
-What did they teach you about your pedagogy and how to better meet their needs?
-Are there skills you thought your students had learned that you feel they need to still work on, in order to succeed in courses and the labor market?
-How did they do working in teams (if they did)? How can you help them to strengthen these people skills?
About Your Institution
-What software worked best for communicating with others on campus?
-What software did not work as well for you?
-What surprised you about your campus/department/program’s leadership team and their decision-making? Good surprises and not-so-good ones?
-How well did you feel your institution communicated with you about CV-19 on campus, in your community, and the plan for trying to reduce its spread?
-How well did you feel your institution communicated its pedagogical plans to you, to staff, and especially to students as the transitions occurred?
Share Your Thoughts, Constructively
In this time of Zoom meetings and such, people might be “screened out.” So I suggest you consider doing something “old fashioned”—drop a few handwritten cards or notes to those individuals who were really there for you, your program, or your students. That might be your Teaching and Learning Center staff, your Instructional Technology staff, your Library staff, the faculty member who had more online teaching experience and helped others out, your Housing and Residence Life staff who helped students to exit campus safely, your campus security, your Human Resources staff, or a particular administrator whose deft touch in campus communication helped the transitions which had to occur. Even if you have ideas for improvement, a short note might be heard better than a long email.
You might even consider writing yourself a letter—memorializing what you have learned, how you have changed as a teacher, and how you want to keep changing in the academic terms to come, given that the virus looks like it will still be on campus, in our communities, and in our lives, for at least the near future. Open it as you begin fall planning.
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