Sunday, August 23, 2020

The Learning Journal: Day 0

School starts for me tomorrow, Monday, August 24. I am an adjunct at a local university teaching ENG101 and Children's Lit. I've been given the choice of teaching in-person, remotely, or in some sort of hybrid model at my discretion.

I'll teach Children's Lit face-to-face (f2f) because it is a small group of students and we'll be able to distance. I'll start ENG101 in person and then see as I know the classroom will not allow students to social distance and I need to be sure they all wear masks when in the classroom.

For the past few weeks I've been having conversations with K-12 teachers in a few districts, providing recorded "show and tell" videos of various strategies and technology tools. We've been talking at length about the challenges of teaching remotely and in-person, given the circumstances, fears, range of challenges, and more.

Like many educators, parents, and just onlookers, I've read numerous articles, opinion pieces, and posts and screeds on Facebook, Twitter, and in blogs. This afternoon I saw this article by a teacher in Hawai'i. Mr. Stinton's message is one of hope. And that reminded me I've read other messages of hope and encouragement. Many of them said, and I paraphrase with abandon, "It wasn't easy, but it wasn't horrible and I think we'll be okay."

Mr. Stinton suggests the same, even as he acknowledges they are all early yet in the school year. So much could happen. And yet, none of the bad stuff might happen. Everyone has to be diligent. Everyone has to be rowing the same direction.

Some friends of mine are moving their son into his university today. They are only mildly apprehensive because they felt like the university did such a good job of making adjustments in the spring when all the kids had to go home. They are confident their son will be smart about things. (I think he's a little afraid of his mom still, and that's kind of cute.)

Some other friends will also be moving their son into his university. She has some medical issues of her own and is worried about her own potential quarantine when she returns home, and she is slightly less confident in many things. I suspect her son will be fine, but I will diminish her concerns. She has every right to have them and feel them. Even so, she is encouraging her son to row with the others and follow the rules.

Mine is a small university, so my sense is that my concerns might be limited. I might not feel the same if I were teaching at a larger school and yet this morning I read about how University of Illinois has prepared for the return of 35,000+ students. UofI expects a bump based on its extensive model, and they believe they are ready unlike some other places that seemed not to make the kinds of plans necessary or have not been as adept at responding to student needs. 

I've got my syllabi ready, and my lesson plans for my first classes ready and drafted for subsequent meetings this week. I am as ready as I think I can be as I prepare to return to a classroom after a 17-year hiatus. Now I just have to figure out what to wear on my first day of school.

No comments:

Post a Comment