It is the second week of our extended spring break, and we are about to resume our class together. Before we buckle down in our new online learning environment, I want to take a moment, to share with you some of my thoughts, so we can help each other process such a drastic change in our shared, daily lives.
I miss you. I miss seeing your faces in class, and chatting with you during office hours. I miss hearing your thoughts and opinions during our class discussions. The connections you would make between our course concepts. I miss speaking with you one-on-one right after class when you would share an idea or experience that related back to our course material. I miss running into you on campus, and waving hello in the hallways.
I am thinking about you. Are you back home with your family? Are you well? Will you be able to focus and learn when we go online next week? Are you coping? The coronavirus has upended and disrupted your routine, your social life, and your studies. I am trying to envision your circumstances and your well-being. Please reach out to me, and let me know how you are doing. I want to know what I can do to make this transition easier for you. What can I do to help you be successful?
You are important to me. Your academic goals are important to me. The continuity of your education is important to me. I have a set of expectations about what and how you should be learning that I am trying to renegotiate with myself. Please know that as we move online, I am working very hard to transition our class in such a way that you will learn the essentials, while taking into account any obstacles that you may have in our new online environment. Between us, I haven’t worked this hard preparing a course since I first started teaching; however, I want to work hard for you because you matter to me.
Stay connected to me and each other. As we move online, we will need to bridge this physical distance together. Although we are social distancing we can use our class as a way to continue learning and be socially connected. Whether it’s Zoom, discussion forums, or email we will find a way to connect and interact together again.
Practice compassion for self and others. Compassion reflects a willingness to be kind, understanding and helpful. Remote learning will not be perfect. While I am coming up with contingency plans, there will likely be a few unexpected hiccups as we complete this semester. Not everyone in class has taken an online course before. I plan to lead our class with kindness, understanding and a willingness to help, and I would like for you to do the same. Be kind and understanding to yourselves, and ask for help when you need it.
Take care and I will “see” you soon.
Dr. Millie Cordaro