06/25/2020 10:40 am
Catalyst: An entity that causes change.
I have been teaching for nearly ten years. The role of a teacher is clear: to be a catalyst that shapes the future of the next generation. I had established a norm for my teaching by combining interactive lecture sessions with demonstrations, tutorials, group discussions, polling, and experimentation.
Suddenly, COVID-19 happened, and with it came the realization that a new normal was not only critical to teaching but also for our survival of life. Almost immediately, faculty became inundated with resources and options to support online instruction from well-meaning colleagues, companies, and professional organizations. Debates over synchronous vs. asynchronous sessions, discussions about online assignments, accommodations, and exams became commonplace, and they added confusion to the decision-making process.
I decided going back to the basics was the best option for me, so I focused on three things:
Shortly after coursework ended for the semester, I received two emails from students. They wrote, “This subject was not the easiest for me but the way you handle/manage your course helped out a ton!” and, “I was always terrified to take any sort of physics course, and you made this one fun and interesting… thank you for all your patience, consistency, and understanding.”
As I reflect on the second half of the semester, I am amazed by the resilience and tenacity of our students. They have overcome an unannounced challenge so admirably that it reinforces my confidence in the next generation.
I am happy to be a catalyst!
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