Last week, I met with some professors over Zoom, and we discussed what they have been learning about their students during this pandemic. This discussion came from an article that professors read by Jim Lang called “What I Am Learning About My Students During an Impossible Semester” from Chronicle Vitae. The article sparked some great conversations of what the professors have learned about their students, and inadvertently, about themselves.
During our meeting, I split the professors into Zoom breakout rooms and popped in and out of them. I heard great insights, like students are “flexible and patient.” The professors started by discussing what they’re learning about their students, but these discussions naturally led the professors to think about all they are learning about themselves. They celebrated all they have conquered in Canvas and with remote teaching and shared places where they would still like to learn. One professor thought of how she could have her students reflect in a similar way to how she was reflecting by asking the following questions: What have you learned about yourself throughout the challenges this semester? What have you learned about yourself as an artist through what’s happened this semester? As a student? As a friend?
What I loved most about this activity was not that the professors were learning a new concept, but that they were able to reflect on the good and also see what they still wanted to learn. No matter what life throws at us or how long we have been teaching, I find that there is always an opportunity to reflect on what is being learned. This allows us to see and celebrate what we have accomplished and what we can still accomplish.
So, have fun continuing to learn about your students and yourselves. Share any insights or realizations you have had in the comments below.
Molly Broere is the CTL director, and she enjoys learning and trying new strategies.