Last week marked my return to an actual brick and mortar classroom for the first time in several years. Oh, I’ve been teaching, but online is very different from a live classroom. And even though I posted about the challenges of online, it was clear to me after only the first day that nothing beats that face to face interaction.
Part of it, I think, is forced engagement. If you know me, you know that I’m going to make every effort to get you involved in my classroom. “I don’t know” is not an acceptable answer—unless I’m asking a math question—which I would never do—and then I probably don’t know the answer either! You remember what they say about opinions, right? They’re like noses: everyone has one.
That’s why “I don’t know” doesn’t work. When talking about creative writing, you either like it, or you don’t. It either works, or it doesn’t. In a classroom, students can discuss the good and the bad (and sometimes even the ugly) to what’s working and/or why it is or isn’t. Online works hard to mimic that, but much of the onus is on the students; it depends on their level of engagement. I can’t “force” them to be engaged in an online former.
To be fair, because my class falls near the end of the program, all my students are effectively seniors and generally (thus far, anyhow), they’ve been both fairly engaged and motivated. That’s always good for the instructor; their motivation feeds an instructor’s desire to pass on knowledge and to help the students improve.
A colleague here says we like it because “every teacher needs an audience.” While this is funny, I’m not convinced this is true. Maybe for my colleague. 😉
And you’ll note that it’s been nearly a month since my last post. While I won’t bore you with the minutiae (it feels like I’ve been talking about moving for a year or more!), we finally loaded up a Uhaul and moved all our things to Orlando…to a storage area. Yes, we’re still crammed into my efficiency for now. The housing market shocked us some; not so much because of price, but because of how fast houses sell here—I mean these things go in a matter of days! BJ and I aren’t used to making a decision that fast about such a big investment…so we’ve got an apartment lined up while we continue to shop.
AND, in other good news…artwork is beginning to come in from the projects I’m working on—that’s exciting. I’m hoping to post about the first one next week!