I showed the following video to my Robotics students this week. For two of my classes this was the end of 17 weeks of teaching robotics through the pinhole of technology during which we attempted to teach the very hands-on subject of robotics without having any robots in our hands and with the lowest common denominator of technology to work with and through. The kids who adjusted did great and the other half who were overwhelmed were largely either no-shows or would show up for virtual class but never turned in any work. It’s been very hard on all of us.
But, as I told a parent whose three students had adjusted poorly to this new “normal,” I teach an engineering class and after we vent a bit about the frustration of things, we settle down, try to identify problems and begin to work through to solutions. Nothing gets better by just venting and then looking for blame. Also, nothing gets done by pretending that everything is okay. Everything is not okay. Now what are we going to do about it?
All of my grades are due before 5pm today (while some students will probably wait until late this afternoon to turn in “some” of the late work and then send me an angry email wondering why they’re still getting an “F” when they check the district website…). Sigh. I’ll probably take Saturday “off,” and then begin to prep for the ten-weeks of instruction that will begin in January. Unfortunately for my girlfriend, Deb, I have a hard time just turning off and taking time off without having plans for the next quarter built out. So, I’m going to spend a goodly amount of the next two weeks looking at the work and experiences of the past 17-weeks and come up with the best possible plan for the next ten-weeks, not really knowing if and when we might return to campus. But that’s what I do, I plan knowing that it could all change with an email from the district. This isn’t a complaint. This is part of a reality-check. This is what I do. I work like hell, almost around the clock from August to December, take an occasional Friday or Saturday night off to enjoy a couple beers with Deb. Then during our “breaks” I look at what worked and what didn’t work, toss out the parts that didn’t work and go on from there. Then I dive back into it, non-stop from January until June. This isn’t a complaint, like I said, it’s a reality check. I work in tech, I teach robotics, I work with middle-school humans, there is no DONE, there’s only how do we do better next time. Happy Holiday, y’all.