Anne Egger
published Mar 27, 2020 9:14am

Right now, my most common underlying thought is, "OK. Deep breath. Keep going. We will figure everything out." My totally unscientific survey of my friends and colleagues suggests that I'm not the only one saying this to myself several times throughout the day.

I need to take that approach because our current situation is unprecedented, and we are all faced with challenges we have not had to deal with before. Teaching online (well, lots of people have been doing that for a while), hosting and participating in constant virtual meetings, a loss of control over our research and travel schedules, the introduction of significant uncertainty in our lives for the indefinite future. But we all feel what we do is valuable, and important, and we aren't going to give up.

Staying home right now will save lives. But education also saves lives, perhaps on a different time scale or in a different dimension. Though educators do not physically put in an IV or call for a ventilator, we help students build skills, confidence, and self-worth—all of which help them be problem-solving members of their families and of society. I believe in what we do, every day, to keep our students engaged and moving forward. In the current situation, where life is upended, I am trying to keep my eye on that bigger goal: whether or not we have the best possible assignment or the best rubric to grade that assignment is irrelevant—we can still help our students make progress, and try to ground them and ourselves in learning.

Before the pandemic, I had the great gift of teaching an Earth science for future teachers, in person and hands-on. During the pandemic, I will be teaching an upper-level geoscience majors course, Structural Geology. I've taught it many times in person, and am still struggling to figure out how to virtually look over a student's shoulder to help with their cross-section or to do many of the things that I normally do. I'll figure it out. I'll do my best to document my figuring here, for the record.


Onward! -- Discussion  

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