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Fall Semester 2021: Teaching During COVID 2.0

Created by Reyna Mondragon (kNOwBOX dance Manager of Community Engagement)

August 10, 2021, Denton, Texas, USA

Photo from 2019, Reyna Mondragon Teaching a Modern class at Texas Woman's University

2021 has been a complete excitement compared to last year. This time last year, I remember preparing for the uncertainty of what the new school year would look like. I remember sketching out a syllabus for a technique class and finding myself scratching what I had written down and rewriting something that, at the time, I was insecure, unhappy, and scared about. I wasn’t sure that what I was writing would work for a class that could either potentially be remote, hybrid, or synchronous. I was also trying to keep up with some research, which meant participating in workshops that were only offered through an online platform for a low price, free, or in-kind donations. Taking those classes was a privilege, but I can’t say it was easy, even with the remote option. I was missing physical touch, witnessing, experiencing in person, and the emotional connection that happens when you are learning, interpreting, and listening. At the same time, it was amazing that I could take a class from local, national and international artists/companies like Jacob Jonas, Jennifer Mabus, DGDG, Kristin Damrow, Sarah Reich, and Yin Yue, among others.

Returning to school?

As we enter the fall of 2021, I am once again finding myself writing a syllabus for a few classes that I hope will happen completely face to face. As I am writing the syllabus, I have an overwhelming feeling of joy and yet also anxiety. I can’t help but think of all of the “what ifs”: What if a student gets sick? What will I do to accommodate? Will they get the same education? What happens if I get sick? What if COVID gets worse? What if (blah blah blah)? These are some of the same questions I was asking myself last year. I can’t necessarily say that I feel more prepared than I did last year; however, I think I will adapt just like everyone else. I feel like I have some sort of mild PTSD from the previous teaching season, which makes me wonder how other teachers are feeling this time around. In this blog post I offer a few themes that are helping me process the potential of what this teaching year could look like: 1.) Don’t reinvent the wheel, 2.) Group work, and 3.) Less is more.

1. Don’t reinvent the wheel

Your curriculum does not have to consist of material that only comes straight from you. #LESSISMORE

What if your students listen to a podcast during your class?

While listening, maybe you stop and start to leave room for questions.