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Tip: Welcome, 2022
Now is a moment to consider how we approach teaching & how our philosophy of teaching and our core values about education come to life in what we do in the classroom.
I promised back in December that I would unplug and find at least 15 minutes a day for something fun. Well, I leaned in hard on that promise. I baked, I knitted, I read for pleasure exclusively, and I didn’t even open my laptop for a full two weeks. It was much-needed time away.
When I did my spring 2021 and fall 2021 round-up of topics, I focused on flexibility to support students through creative design (Hybrid/HyFlex, online synchronous, ZoomFlex) and thinking about alternative and authentic assessments and how we deploy assessment in our classes. Over this past fall, I focused on sharing teaching strategies that support communication, with posts on using muddiest point/minute papers to get immediate student feedback, thinking about asking better questions of students, and helping students to ask better questions. I also shared strategies that highlight ways we encourage students in co-construction of knowledge, through a tipped classroom (rather than flipped) approach, jigsaw activities, and activating students’ prior knowledge.
As fall semester came to a close, I know that many of us felt drained, perhaps more than ever, and with the incredibly fast rise of omicron over the past month our emotional and mental load has only increased. So here we are, with all the same challenges of the past few semesters and even less capacity - perhaps personal and perhaps institutional - to rise to the challenges. I wish that there were easy solutions to persevering, but after the past few weeks of reflecting, I have just one goal for spring 2021…
(Re) Finding Joy
I have written before, and continue to feel strongly, that we each need to reflect on our capacity, on how we set priorities (more here), and let this guide the decision we make about our teaching and other work. Our time is the most important resource that we have, and it is finite. I am trying to focus on what brings me joy: when it comes to work, I find joy in feeling that the work I am doing is meaningful and in building relationships with the people around me.
My plan is to let this bigger goal guide as many choices as I can over the next few months. I think now is a moment to consider how we approach teaching, and how our philosophy of teaching and our core values about education come to life in what we do in the classroom - even when “in the classroom” is still a virtual space. I hope to explore, and share, more resources for finding joy in our work with students, supporting them while remaining authentic about the challenges of doing this work, in this moment.
This image (below) has been posted and shared many times, and when I first saw it I was struck by how challenging it can be to find opportunities in the center.
If you’re interested in exploring more, you might enjoy these resources:
An article on Ikigai from Positive Psychology
The Secret to Happiness at Work, published Sept. 2021 in The Atlantic
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