Spring 2021 Reflection
In my January 2021 reappointment review, the request to “get in the muck of both the good and the bad of my teaching —for true reflection and self-evaluation,” has been taken into great consideration. My reflection on teaching for the spring semester of 2021 can be read in two waves. Please, see the 2020-2021 Annual Faculty Information Form as well as the Fall 2021 Teaching Reflection —many of my most recent conclusions began from the assessment and work during the spring of 2021.
As I stated in my fall 2020 teaching reflection, "it meant a split-focus on the time I committed in service to the college and the challenges I encountered.” Admittingly, sometimes, when things get personally difficult, it can be challenging, as people across the globe have all experienced various forms of hardship during these times.
I remember in the summer of 2019, Dean Galbraith explained in a junior faculty meeting that I attended, it was important for her to learn about a faculty member as a whole person and to see the whole picture of their experiences. After deep consideration —even in the discomfort— it is important for me to not only reflect on teaching but also reflect on my experiences through the lens of a whole person.
On October 2, 2020, while out walking, I was randomly accosted and assaulted to unconsciousness. I underwent back, neck, and hand therapy for several months. I also suffered a concussion that cost me six months of difficulty with memory, sight, movement, and my words came out scrambled when I spoke and when I wrote.
As I was bed-ridden in the beginning, I did my very best to only lose a week of classes with my students, making sure their learning experience was as uninterrupted as possible. I made every effort to try to function as best I could, including building online classwork and curating the first Friday Media Dance Works Series. It was not easy editing media, reading homework assignments, having Zoom sessions, or even building and writing my reappointment website while I was recovering. Toward the end of January, I was, fortunately, able to see a brain and spine specialist and make progress. I could not fully demonstrate dance material into the spring, but I did all I could to interpret movement through verbal explanations, showing examples through video, and pointing out examples and successes in student work. I tried hard to maintain my role in teaching and supporting students, but I confess that I was also suffering from some pretty intense symptoms.
As a bit of a blessing, the spring semester brought me some of the loveliest groups of students. They seemed to have made their way through COVID times, remaining positive. They worked diligently and were hungry as technicians and young artists. I believe that we all know what students underwent during this year, but these students were not just committed as individuals, they also supported each other in encouraging ways that I have not seen in a few years.
By mid-June, I completed all of my neuro, physical, and occupational therapy. I started training sessions in Floor-Barre and Pilates, which made all the difference in the world, attempting to come back, physically. I also had amazing support from my family and beloved partner.
Writing this is very difficult. The challenges have subsided, but my heart can still feel the pain. I have moved forward, though, because I am grateful that it wasn't worse than it was.