It has been difficult to write this month’s dispatch from the IETL for many reasons, but primarily because of the unprecedented experience of teaching in a pandemic. It is my hope that this message finds you each well, and that you are weathering the challenges–large and small–that we have all been faced with the past 5 weeks.
First off, I want to commend all of you for your resilience, and the courage to continue teaching. It is no small task and I suspect that most of you have faced bouts of frustration, exhaustion, and perhaps even despair as you have had to re-imagine how to continue the community of your classroom in virtual space.
Second, I want to remind you that you are not alone in this teaching endeavor and that there are many helpful folks who are just a click away if you need guidance and support.
Third, I wanted to share with you a favorite quotation that has been on my mind, as I have considered what I bring to the classroom in this difficult time:
“Mentors and apprentices are partners in an ancient human dance, and one of teaching’s great rewards is the daily chance it gives us to get back on the dance floor. It is the dance of the spiraling generations, in which the old empower the young with their experience and the young empower the old with new life, reweaving the fabric of the human community as they touch and turn.”
-Parker J. Palmer
If you are like me, joining my students on Zoom and Canvas has brightened my days and enlivened the isolation of sheltering-in-place. My students’ persistence has strengthened my own resolve as we all must “reweave the fabric” of our community during this pandemic. Though I look forward to when this is all behind us, in the meantime it brings me hope to reach out and connect with my students.
And finally, I wanted to leave you with some links strengthen and entertain you, as part of our campus community, over the next few weeks:
- If you missed the live event, please enjoy the recording of our Remote Teaching Town Hall.
- Tune in next Tuesday, April 28th, 1-2pm, to our next event, “When Teaching Goes Viral: Stories from Instructors Addressing COVID-19 in Their Course Content” (Event LINK)
- Looking for interesting documentaries and critically-acclaimed movies to watch? Log in to chapman.kanopy.com for a wealth of video content. I recently watched I Am Not Your Negro: James Baldwin and Race in America and have dozens of other movies on my “Watchlist” including Los Angeles Plays Itself and The Rabbi’s Cat. Another documentary that I plan to watch soon (not on Kanopy, but on Netflix) is Crip Camp: a Disability Revolution, which features some of the activists who agitated for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The official trailer is embedded below.
- Want more Parker J Palmer to read? His columns at On Being are a wealth of thoughtfulness.
- Deborah Farmer Kris, who spoke at our last JanCon event, recently wrote a thoughtful article about How Self-Compassion Supports Academic Motivation and Emotional Wellness.
- We recently added Accessiblity software to Canvas, so your students can access text-based course content in multiple accessible filetypes.