The 2020-2021 school year is setting up to be just as challenging as the spring of 2020. Can teachers ever hope to plan for their students?
Of course we can! We know class will happen, and we know what our objectives will be. That’s really all we need to lay out a plan for the year, right?
I know, I know. There are a lot of unknowns. How long will I have in person with each class? Will be be “in-person” or “distance learning”? Those are hard to predict, but there are things we can do now, while we still have a little time before class starts, to prepare.
- Be willing to lay out a year’s worth of objectives. This will get you through the required content of the year. Be prepared to give up or modify some activities or assignments if the format of the school year changes. If you consider this now, things will be smoother later.
- Within each unit, identify the “must do” activities and the “I’d like to do” activities. Prioritize them now, so that if you need to cut back a little, you can easily identify which parts are necessary and which aren’t.
- Start to prepare handouts early. I’m hoping to give my students a whole semester’s worth of handouts as soon as class starts. This way, if we go into “distance learning” mode, the class can just keep rolling – and I don’t have to worry about students printing things at home.
Of course, there are a lot of things we can think through to make this better for students. We could learn all sorts of techniques to create better online experiences. But these are not the first steps. The first steps are to get an idea of what you will need to cover, and when, and prepare for that.