Lesson Learned in Virtual Teaching

 In the 2020-2021 academic year, after 5 years of primarily face-to-face instruction at the university, the opportunity to teach virtual/online/hybrid pushed me as an educator. My primary focus in the online classroom, beyond the curriculum, pedagogy, and technology needed to develop preservice teachers, is how do I maintain the interpersonal relationships typically built through interactions in the classroom in an online format? 

It was when I was adjusting, alongside all educators, it hit me.... In our struggle to cope with a pandemic, loss of so many moments, events, gatherings, it is incumbent on me, as a teacher-educator, to show preservice teachers how to have fun, even in those most difficult of situations. One of the most important lessons we can teach our future educators is how to embrace a moment, find some levity, and use humor to cope with the difficulties life throws at all of us. Moving forward, whether classes are face-to-face, synchronous, asynchronous, or a hybrid, as teachers, we must be able to console, support, and uplift our students. 

Having fun, being playful, reminding our students to enjoy their education is one of my goals in teaching, thus...

2024-2025 Academic Year (St. Cloud State University)

2023-2024 Academic Year (St. Cloud State University)

2022-2023 Academic Year (St. Cloud State University)

Dear Dr. Baker,

Lately I have noticed that you tend to come to class wearing very unique outfits, silly accessories, glorious wigs, crazy masks, and sometimes even a brand new voice. Is there a meaning to all of this madness? That is the question I find myself asking after each and every class. Is Baker just a goofball? A clown? The life of the party? Perhaps all of the above, but surely there is also a deeper purpose to this stroke of genius. After many sleepless nights, I have developed my own theories. Perhaps the costumes and characters are a way to make school fun again, to bring out our inner child playfulness. This makes us students more likely to pay attention and participate. Maybe it’s to show us examples of how to relate our teachings to things that are relevant to our future students like superheroes, TV shows, celebrities, or just goofy halloween ideas. Maybe it is simply Baker being himself and showing us that it is awesome to embrace who you are. This makes me feel like I can embrace who I really am and show it off confidently. I believe the meaning behind the madness is a little bit of all of these theories. After all, learning is better when it is fun. Sincerely, Cody Mosby (presented with permission to share)

2021-2022 Academic Year (St. Cloud State University)

“Humor can make a serious difference. In the workplace, at home, in all areas of life – looking for a reason to laugh is necessary. A sense of humor helps us to get through the dull times, cope with the difficult times, enjoy the good times and manage the scary times.”  Steve Goodier

2020-2021 Academic Year (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)

“If you can't laugh when things go bad--laugh and put on a little carnival--

then you're either dead or wishing you were.” Stephen King

 Student-created artwork