I’ve heard veteran teachers say that this new era of hybrid and remote learning has them feeling like first-year teachers again. In some ways I feel it too. Seven days into to fully remote instruction and I’m still figuring out how much I can reasonably expect to accomplish in a 55-minute Zoom meeting, how I can most effectively present ideas, how I can best get students interacting with mathematics and each other.
Like in my first year of teaching, I find myself focused on very short-term goals: Getting through today’s class; getting students to engage with a single concept; getting them to demonstrate mastery of one unadorned procedure.
I’m generally energized by the challenges of teaching, but it’s difficult going back. After 20+ years in classrooms I’m used to thinking in terms of threads that weave classes into courses, the small details that bind together a year’s worth of conversations and explorations. It’s hard to get there when you’re unsure about executing the daily details that make class run.
I did it once, and I can do it again. I just hope it doesn’t take me as long this second time.