Monday, March 28, 2022

The Brave New World of Post Pandemic Teaching

I am not sure teaching will ever return to what it was before the Pandemic. Not only is the number of students immobilized by mental health issues far greater, but students are missing and coming late to classes in numbers that I would never have accepted three or four years ago. Clearly, a significant number of students, having become accustomed to ZOOM, feel more comfortable staying home than coming to class, and given the stress of commuting I am not sure I blame them! So what does a teacher do? In my case, it means I throw out deadlines and attendance requirements and do not penalize lateness, but make no compromise on the quality of work students have to turn in. To do this, I make all examinations take home exams, require students to take on challenging subjects, and insist they consult multiple sources to arrive at their conclusions. I give them flexibility in when they hand in assignments, but refuse to give students a grade unless they complete all work in the course, even if they submit it a month after the semester ends I can't say every student is happy with my approach. In some of my courses, it means they will write 50-60 pages worth of papers and exams and end up learning more than they ever expected or wanted to! But for the most part, they get through the course and produce excellent work, provided I am willing to overlook behavior that in the past I would have regarded as rude or unacceptable! Teaching has always been hard work. It's even harder now!

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