A 45-minute talk this Friday afternoon (April 30), and a good read.
Many in the GCC community are working out how we return to some sort of “normal” in Fall 2021. I’m realizing how deeply I have no idea what that might look like for me; no passionate opinion on what it should or could look like for us. There are some things to look forward to and some things about pre-pandemic life that are probably not going to come back. There are probably some things that shouldn’t come back. What I’m understanding lately is how little time I’ve made for any sort of personal reflection that would help me make these sort of choices for how I move forward, let alone how we move forward together as a community of educators.
Maybe you have settled on such things for yourself. But for anyone still wading through a little mud and slime, I offer these two resources I discovered today:
First, Plymouth State’s Open Learning and Teaching Collaborative is offering an open-to-the-public keynote “On Grief and Loss: Building a Post-Pandemic Future for Higher Ed without Losing Sight of Our Students and Ourselves” this Friday, April 30 at 1:00 p.m. Arizona time. The speaker is Josh Eyler, author of How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories Behind Effective College Teaching (you can hear Josh Eyler discuss his book on the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast). Per the event description, his talk will be a reflection on “grieving for the higher ed that was, thinking through what we’ve learned about students and teaching from this experience, and building hope for what the future of higher ed might look like.” It hadn’t occurred to me before reading the description that I might actually need to grieve some of what was before I can imagine what forward means for me. But that feels right. For example, 20 years ago, I had to grieve my father before I could even imagine what to do with his stuff. So if you’d like to join me for this talk on Friday afternoon, register here. Maybe we can do some grieving, reflecting and moving on together.
Next, I just wanted to share Matthew Cheney’s beautifully written post, Salvage. It came my way via Twitter this morning and it just … really got me. Maybe I’ve been avoiding reflecting on this past year because, like Matthew, “I realized I didn’t want to salvage any of it. I didn’t want to learn from it. The pandemic was not a teachable moment.” If you can relate to that at all, or to ranting at clouds, then read the whole long messy thing, and take a hard look at section 12 about encouraging students to salvage something from projects gone wrong. I’m not ready to find the little bright spots and victories of the past year, but I think I can find something to salvage.
That’s my right-now plan: Grieve, reflect, and celebrate what I can salvage.