Reflecting on ADE 2023: The Best Way Out is Always Through (I think)

Becoming an ADE in 2015 reinforced a lot of what I was doing in my classroom and stretched me to try new things. The Institutes and Academies in Miami, Berlin, Houston, Austin, and Bethesda felt a lot like the the golden age of teaching to me. Ideas were flowing, I was being validated and supported, and my students were mostly engaging in creativity in the writing classroom.

And when the shift to remote learning took place in spring 2020, I felt really prepared. Honestly, the transition was an easy one for me. A lot of what I was already doing was remote/hybrid/asynch friendly. And I sat in this place of comfort as our in person ADE events went virtual. These things were working and while it was disappointing to miss out on in person events, I still felt pretty confident.

But there were slow leaks in my creativity and passion. Teaching remotely and asynchronously (and even the face to face felt differently when I returned) started to drain my creativity and passion. I relied on what worked already and, while that may have seemed to be fine to an outside observer, I was running on autopilot. And running out of fuel.

It is still a bit of a struggle as my teaching and learning environment has changed. Let's call it a funk or a plateau. Attending ADE 2023 in Dallas did not completely solve this dilemma for me. But it helped, a lot. I heard similar sentiments, met fantastic people, and heard new ideas forward. So what I am left with, as summer nears an end and fall semester is upon us, is a bit of Robert Frost: "the best way out is always through."

What ways have you reignited your passion and made it through?

3 replies

August 27, 2023

You summed it up brilliantly. I too feel the same way.

Starting back to school this past week, I felt an excitement I hadn't felt in a while. I already feel more creative this year, than in the last few years. But it has been a struggle to get myself to think differently again.

August 28, 2023

Hi Alfred,

Thanks for your thoughtful reflection. What has changed in your teaching and learning environment? I assume things are not "back to normal" with the return to in-person instruction?

September 01, 2023

We've embraced all the modalities now, so my time is split between on campus, remote, and fully online. That is a big change as it reduces in person contact with students and colleagues. There is also a bit of internal change going on that has shifted supervisors, reporting lines, etc., with the trickle down impact being less time on creative and more time on processes and solving new problems. So a bit of an energy and time draw.

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