[The Spring 2021 semester seems to have been the most challenging for my students of any in my 20+ years of college teaching, and I know for sure it was the most challenging for me. I’m not gonna pretend I have clear reflections or lessons I can take away from it, but what I do have are striking individual moments that reminded me of why we do what we do in the classroom. So this week I’ll highlight a handful of those, and I’d love to share your favorite Spring 2021 moments—or other semester reflections—in a crowd-sourced weekend post!]
One of the most difficult parts of teaching this semester was balancing the few students who were able to be in-person with those who were streaming classes (and those who could only watch the recordings after the fact); it was especially challenging to find ways to generate discussion in those settings. Some of my best class discussions happened when I spontaneously came up with a text or topic we could have in front of us together, with no expectation of students having been able to do readings ahead of time or the like. And perhaps the single best was when we began our two weeks with Langston Hughes in my Major American Authors of the 20th Century class: I decided that morning to start by watching Jericho Brown’s TED talk, and then we used it to talk about the elements and power of poetry. One of my favorite few minutes of the semester, and really of any semester.
Next moment tomorrow,
PS. What do you think? Spring 2021 moments or reflections you’d share?