The last academic year has been without doubt one of the most challenging yet for students and teachers alike. For classes to continue smoothly despite a devastating pandemic, teachers had to adapt rapidly to continuously changing modes of instruction ranging from hybrid tutorials to a full transition to online education. With the announcement of UM to commence education fully in-person starting form this September, teachers are now confronted with making the switch back to on-site education. In order to gather the energy for this, and digest the turbulence of last year, EDLAB hosted a week-long Continued Professional Development program last July for UM teachers to decompress, reflect, and recharge.
Our first ever edition of the “UM TeacherReflection and Recharge Week” was opened by an interactive reflection session on teaching during the pandemic. Together with a small panel, UM teachers from various faculties and disciplines shared their discoveries and their struggles, and how they intend to best make the switch back to in-person education while debating the continuous implementation of valuable online tools, thus adhering to a more blended approach to education. Following this session, the first of many mindful moments took place. It was an opportunity for teachers to practice mindfulness techniques throughout the week and reap their calming benefits at the same time.
The second day of our program continued to be centered around mindfulness and self-compassion. The first workshop titled “Putting the oxygen mask on yourself first” gave teachers insights from the science of self-compassion to better support themselves during stressful times like these. Then, after this day’s mindful moment, a session on “Mindfulness in the classroom” demonstrated teachers the value of mindfulness for a smoother learning process and gave inspiring ideas on how to incorporate them when teaching.
The final day aimed to prepare teachers for the return after summer. Under the banner of Dr. Bob Emiliani’s webinar “Improving the work of teaching – more efficient and sustainable teaching”, the final activity this week strove to help teachers to cope better with the workload they often have to face by learning to differentiate what is really worth putting their energy in, especially taking into account the student-perspective.
We hope that we could provide all participants with the much needed space to decompress and recharge, so that they are now ready to return for the coming academic year. Are you now wondering how to best make the switch back to in-person for teaching? Then take a look at our event called Interactive Reflection Session: From Offline to Online and Back Again. Or are you still feeling drained? Then stay tuned, for the Reflection and Recharge Week will come back later in the academic year. For now though, we wish you all a good start into the new semester.