This is the latest in a series of blogs by partners of the Fluency work.
By Jason Metz
In the midst of a global pandemic it is often hard to find positives. We have restrictions on what we can do, who we can see and even what we wear. Where are the positives? Is there anything to be gained or learned?
As educators, our world was flipped upside down in March. We instantly had to adapt and overcome the obstacle in front of us in order to service our student’s academic needs. While there was some obvious complaining, confusion and fear, whether we realize it or not, there was also rapid learning and growth on both parts, educator and student. At least at the collegiate level, how often do we as educators hear from our students that it is hard learning from so many different types of professors? Each professor’s methods often require different learning, note taking and even test taking strategies. We encourage our students to learn how to diversify their methods to be more competitive in the job market.
But have we learned anything as educators? How many of us have slipped into a comfort zone with our methods because we have been teaching the same classes for so long? How many of us were outside of our comfort zone in March and have not been able to return to that zone? Whether we realize it or not, we are all experiencing personal and professional growth and
evolving as an educator. Technologies and methods we were reluctant to use, we are now forced to use and we must figure out the best implementation. This is causing our students to evolve as a learner.
There are 2 quotes that seem to resonate at these times. Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” In the words of Mr. Rogers, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” In the spirit of those words, let’s look at COVID-19 in positive light. I would like to believe, if we as educators are growing, hopefully that transmits to our students. If we as educators tried out something new to use in our position, we have not only expanded our methods, but we have also exposed our students to a new way to learn and potentially use in their future career. A diverse learner is an enjoyable lifelong learner.
As we head back to class, take some time to remember that the challenge that this pandemic is posing is actually causing us to evolve as educators and our students to evolve as learners. If there is truth to Einstein’s quote, imagine how we and our students are going to improve and grow. Considering Mr. Rogers’ quote, it is likely that our students are our helpers and we are their helpers. Until we left campus in March, I did not realize how much of my genuine happiness and enjoyment was wrapped up in student interactions. Based on the number of emails I received, it is apparent that students look to us as their helpers through academic, professional and personal interactions. Let’s not forget how much we depend on each other and
help each other.
Jason Metz graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in with a doctoral major in Exercise Physiology and a doctoral minor in Sports Medicine. Jason began a career as a teacher at Slippery Rock University in 2010. He has been engaged in collaborations with UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, American College of Sports Medicine and the National Strength and Conditioning Association and currently is a member Cohort 3 of The Data and Technology Fluency Project with West Liberty University and the CREATE Lab (situated in Carnegie Mellon University). Jason’s special interests include a passion for ultra-endurance mountain bike riding and racing.