I stay in touch with some of my students from the last academic year who went back home across countries. It’s a nice feeling to hear about how they’ve managed to continue to study at home. We discuss useful textbooks and materials and how they work for their online learning.
One student told me that the situation is slowly getting better in Italy, and that I might be able to travel to Italy this summer. Luca and I had planned to have holidays in Tuscany this summer. I now talk about various topics with students via email, which didn’t happen much before this new standard of online teaching.
During February and March, I was feeling excessive stress in teaching, on top of the pandemic situation and the approaching deadline of my PhD thesis. It was the very first time that I’d disliked teaching because I didn’t feel like I was doing a decent job. That was also the very first time that I expressed how I felt – concerns, fears and desire to receive some guidance – to my boss. She told me that “you have reached a point where you can consider students’ perspectives better.” I then changed some of my usual teaching styles, and tried to think together with students rather than simply exchanging questions and answers. My boss and I also had a three-hour meeting to go through all the session plans and materials I created for my classes, and she gave me much feedback on them.
After the semester, I was moved that some students asked me when I’d be going back to teaching. My struggle turned out to be a very important step to work towards improvement.
One student sent me a beautiful email, saying:
“I would like to express my greatest gratitude for your teachings and the passion put in doing so. There is a lot of magic and beauty in it. Our classes have opened up a whole new world for me.”
Students’ words always motivate me and raise my mood.
My university provides several online training sessions for all the teaching staff. Assuming that we continue online teaching for most of the modules from now on, I’ll get my motivation back to produce better content for teaching and learning in both the physical and online classrooms. 🙂