Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A mutually encouraging interaction

So, it's almost time for MACUL when some 4,000 or so Michigan educators will descend upon Grand Rapids and learn/share/collaborate like crazy for 3 days. This is an amazing conference, and I often go away overwhelmed by an information overload...this new strategy I'd like to incorporate into online teaching or that new tool to try.

One of the things I was almost certain that I would feel after MACUL: I should be blogging! So, this post is an attempt to subvert that sensation of being "behind" or lacking in one more area before it gets here. :)

In the realm of online teaching, we spend a lot of time having one-on-one interactions with students. For me, these typically occur through my feedback (text or video) left on assignments, email interactions, and text messages. It may also include a phone call (imagine that!), which is a method I'm finding increasingly beneficial. Many of my colleagues have conducted a lot of their interactions through this format, and I've been a slow adopter, probably due to my tendency to want to weigh words carefully before responding (anyone else a green on the True Colors assessment?).

Out of all of the interactions we have in a given week (hundreds), how many of them lead to a positive outcome? How many times is the communication one-sided (reaching out to a struggling student or his/her mentor and not receiving a reply)? I think I have a tendency to focus on what's not going well to a fault and thus forget the good that truly is occurring in my online classrooms.

Today I had a very rich interaction with a student that encouraged both of us. Here's a little recap of what was said as well as the context around how this interaction occurred. You may also enjoy my curious onlooking son in the background.

So, here's to focusing on the positive outcomes as well as taking that risk to say, "Please call me to chat about this". Yes, I said "call".