To My New Students
I am so excited and happy and nervous (and excited again) about having you in my class this semester!
For many people - no matter if they are students, teachers, parents, administration - this school year already feels like a lot. Every day there is another mountain of news stories on TV or social media about new restrictions or about the numbers or the curve or what happened at this school or in that city and who's doing virtual teaching and how are they even making sure everyone is getting the information they need and do I really have to be on camera and can I go to the library instead of sitting in my bedroom and when my brother logs in my connection slows down and will I really get marked off if I'm wearing my pajamas and why do I need to install that software to take that test and what does "hybrid" mean anyway?
Like I said, it's a LOT.
All that might not be so bad if you know you were registered for a class with someone you know and have a history with; as so many educational researchers and teachers have found, it is much easier to learn from someone we know. Relationships matter much more than anything else when it comes to meeting academic goals and being successful in the classroom not to mention finding some kind of comfort in that classroom. But, alas, the likelihood of you knowing anything about me before starting the school year is pretty low.
So as a way to remedy that just a little, let me share a bit about who I am as an educator:
First - I care. I know, I know... it sounds hokey, right? But I swear to God I will hold your well-being, your feelings, and your (mental, emotional, and physical) health as the utmost importance as we learn from each other. And I hope you will too.
Second - I am learning. There is a reason I use the phrase becoming teacherly so often; all of us are constantly becoming... the journey of a teacher never ends. We don't stop learning once we become an educator. Through every course I teach, every conversation I have, and every relationship I build, I become more and more teacherly.
Third - I am not perfect. I will mess up; I will forget things; I will drop the ball at least once a week. I am trying really hard to not be like all the absent-minded professors that came before me, but I can't promise anything. I hope that you will allow me a bit of grace as I move through this semester, this school year, and this life.
And while I'm on this subject, none of this is perfect. Nothing about this semester, this school year, the environment we all find ourselves in - none of it is perfect. But the great thing is that none of it is set in stone either! We are all going to figure it all out together, so don't be too worried if it looks like things are going in the wrong direction. If we care about ourselves and each other and if we keep continuous learning in our sights, we will be able to work together to right this ship.
Learning in the midst of a pandemic is not going to be easy. But I hope you will begin to recognize that I can be one constant in your life. I can be someone you can rely on.
I am here for you.
Let's do this.