Now that I have been on summer vacation for a week, I am taking this time to reflect on the school year so that I can close that chapter and spend time away from anything academic for awhile. Here are some observations from a post-hybrid year. I only taught Latin 2 and 3 this year.
- There were some MAJOR knowledge gaps in my Latin 2 classes. My Latin 2 students were those who experienced Latin 1 in a hybrid environment, with most "learning" digitally at home. I did not teach Latin 1 last year, so I did not know any of my Latin 2 students this year. I quickly realized that although many of these students completed their digital assignments from last year and received A's, to a large degree, that actually did not mean much. Completion of assignments did not equal acquisition of material. This is not to blame the Latin 1 teachers but rather the hybrid learning environment itself.
- As a result, I needed to have realistic expectations of student knowledge. My friend Edie always says "Disappointment is mismanaged expectations." We all know that the year of hybrid teaching was not effective at all, so it was best for me to accept it all for what it was and that it was rather pointless to place the blame on students or teachers.
- I had to reset my "goalposts" of what students should be able to acquire and to achieve. Once I viewed that Latin 2 was essentially going to be "Latin 1.5," it gave me somewhere to start. First semester was dedicated to filling in knowledge gaps and moving ahead much more slowly with new material.
- I sheltered vocabulary, not grammar like crazy to help fill gaps for many students and to reinforce existing knowledge in others!
- However, in my Latin 3 classes, I did not see such knowledge gaps like I saw in my Latin 2 students. I am wondering if it is because since Latin 3 is an upper-level elective, those students for whom knowledge gaps would have existed chose not to take Latin 3 and therefore self-weeded themselves out.
- We cannot assume that students in our classes for the near future will be like they were pre-pandemic. Even though our classrooms have returned to a "normal" face-to-face teaching environment, I firmly believe that it is going to be a number of years before any knowledge gaps in students caused by the pandemic interruption will be filled. And that is OKAY!!
- I am going to truly focus on sheltering vocabulary, not grammar. I had felt like I had done a good job of it before, but it was never my sole focus like it was this year.
- There is NO rush to return to pre-pandemic expectations and standards. It is going to take a long time for both students and teachers to adjust back to a post-pandemic classroom, so let us this time to meet everyone where they are at and to go from there.