One Last Reflection :)

Well, well, well, what do we have here? A final post? How is that even possible? This semester was something else; a beast Beowulf couldn’t even slay, but we did it! I want to take a moment to generally look over this class as a whole as well as reflect on the semester.

I think it is safe to say the last couple months have been anything from ideal. I mean 2020 has been a dumpster fire, but this semester has been brutal. The thing is when I say this semester has been brutal I don’t mean just one class was ├╝ber hard, but collectively everything was just tough. Learning how to work remotely, how to not destroy your eyes, and try to solidify your mush brain after hours of zoom class. It just wasn’t easy. There were days I wanted to quit, to drop out completely. Assigments, to do lists, the stress of a global pandemic, you know the usual school things. Except no matter how familiar we are with the term COVID-19, this schooling as all new to us. To everyone involved we are all pushing through massive change. We are plowing the way for hybrid and remote learning models, but it is easy to forget we are all still in pandemic learning // teaching.

For the educators who found flexibility this semester. I can not thank you enough. I am usually the student who passed things in a week early. Not this semester though, nope no way. For the first time in my life I passed things in late. Maybe a day late, sometimes a week late. Hell, I fell behind a month in this class, but with flexibility, support, and the enthusiasm of my peers I got back up to speed.

I want to thank my fellow classmates. Thank you for always contributing substantial meaningful work for me to read. I never felt like I was reading half hearted stuff or ‘fluff.’ You all submitted wonderful work that made me think harder and more critically about the content prepared for us in this class. You my friends made the class excited for me, an asynchronous student. I never felt like my time was wasted reading through everyone’s questions and posts, which means a lot to me as like all of us, I was beyond busy.

I’m an English Education major and frankly this semester changed everything for me. I realized that sometimes less is more. That understanding and compassion are some of the biggest tools a teacher can be equipt with. Students are people at the end of the day. School is not their entire world. We need to create meaningful content and ciriculmn that helps them navigate the world they all live in. I want to prepare my students for the world with the abilities and skills to communicate effectively. This class gave me a voice and allowed me to express my understanding of the content in ways I never even considered before. From writing poems about themes of the unit to using my photography to execute ideas and concepts that made connections in my mind. I want to give that creative freedom to my students because it makes learning fun. It makes learning worth our while. It makes learning individual and intimate. It is why I got into the major of teaching in the first place, to shake education up. This class was different from any learning environment I had ever been in and not just because I was in my bedroom all semester. I was encouraged to learn and create at the same time. I wasn’t forced to write essays I didn’t care about. I was able to bring the excitement and jot I get from photography to the classroom. I was able to watch my peers use their mediums and voices to do the same.

I guess all I am trying to say is that even though this was a literature course, for me, it was much more; it was a teaching class. It was a functioning model of learning at it’s finest. This experience will be the class I tell my students about as I retire from the classroom decades from now. This is the class that gave me excitement to learn and to teach again.

To my peers thank you all for producing such unique, thought provoking work, I loved seeing it all. I appreciated this class from the syllabus to the conversations. Professor Helms, thank you for creating this interactive, successful classroom.

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