Tuesday, June 9, 2020

New Graduate Classes Begin

Today is the first day for new classes that I’m teaching for Furman. They are EDEX962 and EDEX963, both are practicums in Special Education. My students are certified teachers who are getting their master’s degree in Special Education and this class is the last class they are required to pass in order to get their degree. 

I’ve been teaching this class since 2007 and I’ve felt that I’ve had a good handle on the process and procedures for making these classes meaningful and successful. It was a month-long class that met at a school for four hours a day, four days a week.

This year is going to be very different from all the other years that I’ve taught these classes. Furman has decided that summer graduate courses will be taught online for 8 weeks. This has been a big challenge for me because I really want this time to be meaningful to my students.

I have created an online program for children and my students will be the teachers. The classes will meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 – 11 for eight weeks. There will be four classes with two teachers and eight children. The teachers will come up with a daily schedule that includes lessons in reading, math, and writing as well as scheduled breaks. 

There are many positives to the way this year will work. In the past, the teachers have had to do blog posts, weekly seminars, and weekly reports all in four weeks. This year, the teachers will have the same work but eight weeks to complete the work so it may be less stressful for them. Instead of meeting every day with children, they will be meeting only twice a week with the children.

Teaching online will be a challenge for the teachers because they will have to be more creative. I look forward to observing lessons that will be taught.

I have asked the teachers to come up with three goals for themselves before we start. I also asked them to tell me how they are feeling and their expectations. At the end of the course, I will ask them to look at their goals and see if they have achieved them. I will try to do the same along with them.

My goals:
1.     Help my students (the teachers) as much as possible to make this class meaningful.
2.     Give constructive suggestions for online teaching.
3.     Look at ways that I can make this online class better for the next time it is taught online.  

I’m excited about this class being taught online this year. I’m confident that the teachers will be able to handle it because they have already been teaching online for many weeks before taking this class. I’ve been communicating with the teachers a lot recently and I’m impressed with how excited they seem to be about taking this class.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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