During the past year and a half of instruction during a global pandemic, there has been lots of discussion about “learning loss,” and to what extent (or even if) we should be worried about it. However, I have seen less about what our expectations of students ought to be, or how we should form those expectations. And that is something that concerns me, especially given that in addition to changes in students’ instructional gains due to the pandemic, I will also be teaching a completely different course load this year, including two courses I’ve never taught before. If I go into these courses with misplaced expectations, I’m setting not only myself up for failure, but my students as well.Continue reading
Normally, by about mid-July I start feeling excited about the upcoming school year. However, this year I spent mid to late July studying Google Suite in preparation to teach remotely. Except then we found out we wouldn’t be teaching remotely. Except we would be teaching some of our students remotely. At the same time that we were teaching the rest of the class in person.
This summer has been one frustrating complication after another. Other countries that had tighter restrictions saw their numbers of new cases sharply decline. However, at both of my summer jobs, while I was required to wear a mask, most of our customers did not. And surprise, surprise, this was the result:Continue reading
I have the opportunity to develop a World Literature course for English II. It’s definitely something I feel there’s a need for, because the literature we typically have access to in our curriculum is heavily Anglocentric. To some degree, that makes sense, because, well, we’re studying English.
On the other hand, as Rudine Sims Bishop points out, different texts serve different purposes.
After our schools closed mid-March because of the virus, one of the assignments that I gave my students was creating their own blogs. Even though participation was not required, many students chose to try it out. It was interesting to notice what was similar and what was different in the choices they made. And it helped me to stay in touch with them and see how they were doing when I couldn’t actually see them every day.
The assignment was very open-ended; I provided a link to an article that discussed different blogging platforms, but I allowed students to choose which ones they wanted to use. Likewise, while I gave a list of possible topics and encouraged them to write about their experiences during the closure, I didn’t assign specific topics. This gave students a lot of freedom, but also provided some challenges.
There is definitely a part of me that threw an internal temper tantrum when we were asked to develop strategies for online instruction. I already have a course outline, thankyouverymuch. I knew what we were doing before spring break (research) and had new ideas I wanted to try out for the unit.
Then the plan was to punt that until after spring break and drop the mini-unit on Machiavelli’s The Prince, as that would give us the time we’d need to focus on research before moving into the memoir.
And then we found out we wouldn’t be going back at all.