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Fall 2021 Postmortem + New Semester’s Resolutions Spring 2021

As I’ve said before, I actually don’t consider the Covid semesters my “worst semester ever”; that honor is forever reserved for Fall 2019. However, although Spring 2020 was actually ok (all things considered), I will start by saying that Fall 2020 went badly for reasons that I probably could have prevented, and it is myContinue reading “Fall 2021 Postmortem + New Semester’s Resolutions Spring 2021”

Problems With Contract Grading

Traditional grading, which, like so many of our so-called traditions in the US isn’t actually very old, has a lot of obvious problems. It’s been rightly called racist, classist, and eugenicist. The conventional grading structure likely causes more harm to students than good, and yet teachers are forced into it by administrative demands that benefitContinue reading “Problems With Contract Grading”

Quarter Semester Reflection

My students are about a quarter through their coursework now. They’ve finished one of four projects. So I decided now would be a good time to assess how I’m doing in serving them as teacher. I’ve seen a number of instructors suggesting weekly (or even more frequent) check-ins with students. I like that idea, butContinue reading “Quarter Semester Reflection”

Genre, Learning, and Why Your Students Are So Tired

It’s a bit of a cliche right now, due to the pandemic, that we have to “relearn” how to do things that were normal. But it’s also, like many cliches, not wrong. And as teachers struggle to find a mode of instruction that meets ever-changing guidelines and protects themselves and their students but still preservesContinue reading “Genre, Learning, and Why Your Students Are So Tired”

New Semester’s Resolutions: Fall 2020

I’ve written before about how I like to make resolutions at the new semester, rather than the new year. So let’s do this! I admit this semester I haven’t given that much thought to what I want to do better. Like most of us, I’ve been in crisis mode over the summer, waiting to seeContinue reading “New Semester’s Resolutions: Fall 2020”

Important Lessons: Flexibility and Vulnerability

I was a freshman in high school, having just moved across the country to a wealthy suburb of Washington DC, where many Pentagon officers lived, when the 9/11 attacks happened. Most of my fellow students had some connection to the government or military through their parents’ jobs. Many parents at my school worked in theContinue reading “Important Lessons: Flexibility and Vulnerability”

The Most Important Lesson Your Students Can Learn From You

Notice I said “can learn from you” not “that you can teach” in the title. That’s because this lesson is not one you explicitly teach. It’s not on tests. I’m not even sure how you’d assess it. But it’s important. The most important lesson your students can learn from you is this: Grace. Grace isContinue reading “The Most Important Lesson Your Students Can Learn From You”

About Those Staggered Due Dates…

Previously I wrote about my scheme this semester to stagger due dates by having students sign up for a date during a “due week,” and reported that it was doing pretty well. I wrote too soon. As you may have surmised, time simply has no meaning anymore. Even self-selected due dates became meaningless when myContinue reading “About Those Staggered Due Dates…”

Redundancy Is Good Praxis

I just got done setting up the second online module for my formerly face-to-face classes. When we all were preparing to go online, I knew I had some advantages: I’ve done this before (in fact, I’ve been plundering some of my previous online classes’ resources to help the shift), and I know from experience thatContinue reading “Redundancy Is Good Praxis”

The Good, The Bad, and The Covid-19

Yesterday, Ball State University announced that we will be suspending in-person classes for the remainder of the semester, effective Monday. I wasn’t surprised, honestly, and I’m actually a little relieved. I’m not given to panic. But I know I’ve been dragging lately, and honestly the requirement to entirely change my teaching strategy overnight excites me.Continue reading “The Good, The Bad, and The Covid-19”