I want to share a secret with you. I’m taking an online writing course. You may have noticed I don’t post to the blog a lot. I thought a writing course might help. One of the ongoing assignments is to write in your journal at least an hour a day. Perfect, I thought. But this has not helped me post to my blog. You see, I have been too busy to blog.
That isn’t to say that I haven’t learned many valuable skills during the online course which is two weeks shy of being over. But the most important thing I have learned is empathy for my students.
One of the first things I have learned is that sometimes life gets in the way of doing homework. This specific course has standing assignments due every Wednesday and Sunday. That seems so easy, until you have to do that and have a life. You may have heard, that earlier this summer a tree fell on my car. And I needed to get it off. But that was the evening I planned to do my homework. So much for that. Then I had to put it off another day. Wait, this isn’t easy! Or you are driving home after a perfectly fun day of movie and a dinner with friends and it hits you, wait, it is almost 7:00 pm. And while you have five hours to complete your homework by midnight, was that really what you planned to do Sunday night?
I have also learned the importance of reading directions and it is really easy to miss one word in the directions, completely changing the meaning. So that assignment I worked so hard on that was in third person that had to be written in first person. And luckily I saw my mistake before hitting submit. What if I hadn’t seen that word at that moment? Hopefully I can be more compassionate and realize how easy it can be to misread and put in work, but not answer the question posed.
But today tops it all. I so felt like one of my sophomore chemistry students. You see, I lost my text book. I have a reading assignment due tomorrow and we have two text books. But I read ahead and hadn’t needed one of the two books for three weeks now. And I couldn’t find it. Seriously. I am an adult and I bought this paperback for nearly $30 you would think I wouldn’t lose it. But alas, it was hiding from me. So, I cleaned the living room. But it wasn’t there. But an hour went by. Thankfully, in the next place I looked I found it covered by a pile of laundry that needed folding. Hopefully I will remember this the next time a kid tells me they can’t find their book, or the more common story of “I was at Dad’s house and my book is at Mom’s,” or vice versa.
And lastly, we are eight weeks into a ten week summer online course and the instructor hasn’t posted grades. Any grades. Did I mention we have assignments due every Wednesday and Sunday at midnight? Yup, no grades yet. I’m over the anxiety but I’m not a 16 year old who could get grounded if the grade isn’t good.
So in conclusion, I think the greatest thing that I have learned over choosing to take an online course, is the reminder of what it is like to be a student.
UPDATE: Just that week an assignment was graded as was the final portfolio, but still…I feel for you students!