Let’s do a little Dos and Don’ts for finishing the semester in a global pandemic.
Do: Ask your students how they are, what they need, what their challenges are, then listen and adapt accordingly.
Don’t: Set inflexible deadlines.
Do: Lighten the load. Yes, there is so much we WANT to get accomplished and it’s imperative that we let go of our wants to focus on our needs. What are program/professional requirements that are inflexible? Reduce the course to those things only.
Don’t: Add anything. Nothing, not a check in, an assignment, a test, a synchronous class session, nothing. Less is more right now.
Do: Revise your grading criteria. Account for the limitations of the circumstances.
Don’t: Allow the demands of the time (e.g. caring for ill family members, being ill themselves, limited access to technology/reliable internet) have a lasting effect on students in the way of GPA or having to retake a class.
Do: Communicate. Students are anxious too! They’re not feeling trusting of faculty to be understanding of their circumstances so let’s stay in communication about our expectations.
Don’t: Expect business as usual. It’s a global pandemic and we’re really just getting started. This is not business as usual.
Do: Finish as soon as you can. If you can finish the course early, do. This will allow students to complete the must-do experiences as soon as possible in the event that they are personally affected by Covid-19.
Don’t: Make this any harder than it is. Yes, our work is so important and our time with students is so important. And, in a global pandemic, health and safety are all that matter.
Now, go wash your hands.
Jen Newton, PhD is an assistant professor in early childhood/early childhood special education (isn’t that a lot of words for what should be one field??). I talk a lot and have strong opinions – or so I am told.