some key words in the objective with their own. One of those key words was "Develops". I was impressed overall with their efforts, but particularly struck by how many students substituted the word "grows" for develops. I liked this because it gave the characters a human quality, something organic rather than mechanical.
We are now a full quarter into "pandemic learning", midterms are coming to a close, and I now have a moment to reflect on where we've been and where we still are yet to go. Full stop. Let's consider something important - NO ONE HAS DONE WHAT WE ARE DOING. Like I said to a colleague, there are no best practices, there is no manual, there is only ourselves and our creativity to make this work. In other words - we are all learning, which is a place in which I love to be.
I consider how rough our start was last school year, with so much uncertainty and so little knowledge about how to even make this work. Now, we are pushing ahead with a growth in technical expertise the likes of which the teaching profession has never seen. Students are growing faster and learning a whole new way of interacting. Yes - perhaps we are learning less "content" but in reality we are learning more than we ever have!
So it is important to pause, and reflect on what has changed, and what should change moving forward. I recognized that many things have improved. My feedback to students, the technical mechanical aspects of teaching, have all improved. I have better systems, more communication, and more efficient assessment strategies. But in that - with the computerization of teaching - I have also lost something critical. I feel the loss of the connectedness of the classroom, of the spontaneous and natural flow of instruction that is driven not by me, not by the curriculum, but by US, by the culture of the classroom.
In talking with some of my former students, this is exactly what stuck with them about my classes. It was this natural, responsive type of learning environment that engaged them the most and helped them learn.
I don't seek to reclaim this as something lost. I now seek to recreate this with all the benefits of technological efficiency I've gained. My classroom design next quarter will be changed, fewer, more complex assignments. More time given to individualization of instruction; more time getting to know students and building culture. That's where my greatest impact has been, and that is where it will continue to be.
Students - I have developed, I have grown, I have learned - and so have you. You will learn and grow no matter what, but you only do so for good by working, by working hard and keeping at it. By failing over and over again and recovering. I ask you - reflect on what you have learned, not necessarily in the classroom, over the past quarter. How have YOU developed as a character? How are you working with God to co-author your story of sainthood?