We’ve had about 8 weeks of distance learning at CNA and are nearing the end of the semester. Classes have settled into a new routine with live online classes, quizzes, and assignments each week.
In Cardinal Newman Academy’s vision of education, being together as a community to learn is very important. Temporarily becoming a remote school puts limitations on how we can build community, but we’ve tried to compensate with online resources. I think both teachers and students have appreciated the ability to “come together” virtually in online classes.
Moving to online platforms has also provided an opportunity to appreciate what is important. One area that’s been highlighted for me is the importance of good communication. In the past weeks, I’ve seen the value of giving students clear, open feedback–whether that means challenging them to meet their potential or acknowledging their exemplary work. Communication from the students is also invaluable. Students elevate the quality of a class when they are willing to ask for clarifications or add their own insights. Our small size and the individualized attention we provide continue to benefit our students and teachers alike.
While there are silver linings to the current situation, we’re looking forward to being together as a school again! Some aspects of school community simply can’t be replicated online. For example, right before the COVID outbreak, when the weather was beautiful, we had been holding a Kan Jam tournament at the school. It was a great success that brought our community together, with faculty and students competing and cheering each other on. (One of the students even patiently coached me in throwing!) School-wide camaraderie like this both supplements and supports classroom learning.
As we finish up the school year, we hope to be back on campus in the fall. And I hope what we’ve learned during this time will make us better teachers and students.