The venerable book that I use to start my day, Daily Strength for Daily Needs, offers a group of readings for each day of the year. This week’s theme is patience. Sigh. Yesterday’s passages included an excerpt by E. B. Pusey encouraging patience in the face of a multitude of ills, including “disappointments as to the weather.” Perfect, absolutely perfect.
I love a good plan of action, a list with well-chosen items that I can check off as I glory in my virtue. The schedule for my classes is just such a plan, carefully crafted to cover all the items in the course outline (that’s for you, Mr. Wilson!). Labs and other in-class learning activities, online assignments, and lectures are meticulously orchestrated to maximize learning opportunities. And then it snows…and snows some more…and stays really cold. My beautiful plan is in tatters.
I realize that no one at HCC controls the weather. I realize that the safety of students, staff, and faculty is paramount. I realize that spring will come. And yet…
This pity party was interrupted by the recollection of a news story from September 2012. A small plane carrying 2 buddies crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. Against all odds, the two men were rescued, crediting their survival to calmly pursuing the strategies they’d learned in training, using the resources at hand, and knowing that their location was known and help was coming.
So I’m making a new list, a list of resources that I can cleverly deploy to thwart winter’s obstacles to learning. Just look at all the stuff we have: BlackBoard, email via PeopleSoft, a great textbook, an online learning platform. I’m beginning to wonder why I ever have to go to class. I’m emailing my students regularly and posting a challenging assignment every day. The situation is actually beginning to feel like an interesting puzzle to be solved.
I appreciate Dr. Howard’s recent professional development offerings on reading, especially her conviction that we don’t need to tell our students everything in class. She’s persuaded us that expecting them to read and assimilate material on their own is actually a good thing.
Time to brew another pot of coffee and get busy devising tomorrow’s instructions…just in case.