25 Sentences About Teaching

lonebeeHow much attention should I give to students? (One sentence! that’s one! Here comes another.) In a live class, every word is a kind of encouragement, to listen, to learn, to act, to react, talk and have a moment to understand. In the online portion of class, which is technically half, they’re on their own with the content, reading, discussioning, watching (hopefully) tutorials, practicing the skills. I’m not there for that. Sometimes during the interim, I think I should jump in with a word or video encouraging them, suggesting a next move, throw out some new ideas. I haven’t yet.  (Six sentences so far, not including the commentary.)

In class, there are lots of words, mostly spoken by me. Some words are designed to help  do the tasks, others are theoretical discussions, and some attempt to create a comfortable atmosphere conducive to learning. You’ll know that when you see it! The classroom can be exciting and focused, and disjointedly chaotic. From the drive to presenting something meaningful, great moments rise and then fall again, back to wondering what the heck is going on out there. At the end, it can be hard to tell what just happened. (up to 12!)

At least I was there. Online for the six days between meeting up, there are some messages, some questions, some sidenotes, and between those, a lot of wondering how they’re doing. They’re out making their works, doing the skills exercises, discussion boarding, quizzing. I used to be more active but I’m trying to let them be ‘among each other’ in those spaces, for the most part. My voice is pretty active in the classroom already. Creating active online spaces takes strategy and I am learning slowly. I’m afraid of asking too much, and afraid of not challenging them enough. Striking that balance has got to be the key to success, but how does one provide the right mix for the diverse bunch I see out there? (Just five more to go.)

I’d love to be there right when each student needed encouragement, a special tip, a fresh viewpoint or a little more motivation. I offer extra help, but few are taking me up on it. Call, Skype, email, and I will make time for you! I’m the care-giving type, and it’s slightly disappointing when the very flexible office hours are quiet. Is it intrusive to call them? I’m going to send out that mid-week message, next time. (Bonus sentence this week!)

 

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September 18, 2016 · 9:13 pm

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