Day 1: Reflections and Vague Plans for Moving Forward

Day one is done, and I’m starting to get more of an idea of how I want to move forward with my writing projects for the remainder of the retreat. The day’s activities have been productive; hearing everybody’s diverse experiences and goals for the retreat has me reflecting more on what unique perspectives I can bring to the table, and taking a quick morning walk gave me time to get into a more creative headspace.

I’ve spent the afternoon attempting to make some concrete plans and goals for the retreat, but I have to be honest: I’ve never been much of a planner, especially when it comes to writing. I’m the type of person who likes to go with the flow, writing in random flurries of productivity when inspiration strikes, so I’m having a tough time mapping out a realistic timeline for myself. 

However, I’m starting to get a general idea of what I want to explore during this retreat. On Friday, I finished up my second year as a full time high school Spanish teacher. As you can imagine, both my first and second years of teaching were filled with unexpected professional challenges as I attempted not only to learn the ropes of teaching in a new school (and a new state; I’m originally from PA), but also to navigate the confusing world of hybrid and remote learning during the pandemic. For this retreat, then, I think it will be worthwhile for me to reflect on my experiences with teaching in such unprecedented times and dig deeper into how this experience has affected my views of myself, the education system, and our society as a whole. 

In our Research and Methods course last semester, I started toying with the idea of studying hybrid learning during the pandemic by interviewing educators to hear about their experiences. If I do choose to continue down that path, I think that writing about my own experiences during this retreat could be a great way for me to get my thoughts about hybrid and remote learning in order before I start conducting any formal research. Reflecting on how I dealt with the pandemic in my classroom could help me hone in on which aspects of remote or hybrid learning I’d like to explore, which would in turn allow me to form distinct and specific questions that I could ask when interviewing participants for my thesis.

Even if I don’t end up using the writing produced in this retreat for my thesis, I still think it would be valuable for me to organize my thoughts on teaching these past two years so that I can better understand the field of education and decide how I want to move forward with my career.