Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Weed the Garden

     Our front yard garden is something fairly invisible to me as I walk past it daily from the house to my car. Last weekend was the first time this year for me to actually step into our garden with the intent of improving it.  The weather was perfect for gardening; an early spring day that makes you want to hold on to the warm sun and never let go. As I bent to begin weeding one area, my eye was caught by a huge dandelion in another. After I had removed it, I looked up to see another group of waving yellow dandelions.  There were a lot more yellow dandelions than any other flower in our yard, and as maneuvered from one to the next,  I was struck at how aspects of my once carefully-planned yard were simply not working.

digging up dandelion weed from garden
Removing the Dandelions

      It wasn't just the proliferation of bright dandelions - that was just Spring's way of saying hello.  But I suddenly realized that I had been trying to make the moss section by our front door work for almost 10 years....and it was still a mossy mess. It had never been clear before, but suddenly it became clear to me that I needed to stop spending my energy arguing with it, and to try something new.  I began to dig it up.

     Teaching - especially online teaching -  is like that.  We need to keep weeding our garden and adjusting for things that aren't working. We can't expect to set up a course, and leave it to run as-is, quarter after quarter, without seriously contemplating how to improve it as we use it. The online tool that was so amazing when you first implemented it...have you looked to see what other tool may now be available that is even more fitting for your students?  The students who got lost in your second module...maybe they needed clearer directions on what to do. And that quiz that no one seems to be successful in...perhaps there is another way to assess student understanding.

     Spring quarter is almost here. Time to weed our gardens.