I started teaching last week. And, this fall I am teaching over Zoom. My first class did not go as it normally does – the students did not walk into the classroom, find a table with a familiar face, sit down and begin catching up before class. I was not able to move the students around the classroom, putting them into different groups to meet their classmates. Nor was I able to do the usual Getting to Know You Icebreakers.
The argument can be made that we are teaching and our students are learning during a time of crisis. We are teaching through uncertainty as well as pain and suffering. However, times of difficulty can also be times of hope and possibility because the challenging experience will provide a new perspective and awareness, which will give new opportunities for teaching and learning.
The first Zoom class I taught was new to everyone – the students and me. I have never had to begin a semester in a virtual setting, and the first class felt strange, different, and a bit challenging – for everyone. At first, each of the students came into the classroom with their cameras off, making it seem as though I was introducing myself to blank boxes. But, by the second day, everyone had seemed to settle into this new way of teaching and learning, including arriving with their cameras and microphones on, ready to engage in discussion, which got me thinking – Everyday, we are getting better at getting better. While the virtual classroom is new, each day we are adjusting to it and getting better at it. This fall is like none we as teachers or students have experienced. Therefore, there are going to be bumps in the road as we adjust and refine our methods.
Everyday, Getting Better at Getting Better has become my motto for the semester. Each day, we will get better and by the end, my hope is that my students and I will have a positive perspective on virtual learning, which includes new possibilities.
Do you have a motto that is keeping you going during this time?