by Brian Reff
2nd Vice President, Glendale College Guild
Normally in the May Issue of Chaparral I would be talking about the outcomes of the Guild and Senate Elections and congratulating the winners. This would be followed by a section of updates and a section of negativity, i.e. asking hard questions or calling for action. Well, that is not the case this time around! I am going to try and be positive as our topic this month is, “We’re All in this Together!”
I would like to comment on four areas where I believe that we all involved:
1. Coping with this new and different dynamic of Remote Instruction, 2. Challenges facing us in Remote Instruction, 3. Helping our students to feel better, and lastly, 4. How to maintain community here at Glendale College. For the most part I am going to talk about what I do and how I do it.
- Coping with this new and different dynamic of Remote Instruction
I try to keep a positive attitude. I keep in mind that it will end eventually and that I want to still be here when it does! I look at it as a learning experience: I am being forced to learn something new! I also keep in mind that not every new thing I learn is necessarily enjoyable. Additionally, I take a lot of deep breaths and take many walks in the great outdoors by myself and with my dog.
- Challenges facing us in Remote Instruction
The first thing that I have learned is to be patient with the process and the people involved with it. Do not be in too big a hurry; things take longer in this mode of instruction. This means everything takes longer than it should. Understand that if we are having issues with the process and the technology, the students have the same ones and more! I have found that the students have many issues with the technology because they cannot or have chosen not to buy technology. Students may have issues with internet connectivity. Some students lack the necessary language skills to use the technology and be successful in their classes. Things that I do to help them include speaking slower, giving more time for assignments, and allowing more time between when I finish asking a question and expecting an answer. I encourage the use of the Chat feature in whichever learning program that I am using. When I have a question or problem with the technology itself, I reach out to my colleagues for guidance and suggestions. I do this with and for the students also.
- Helping our students to feel better
I talk about positive things with them! I talk about fun things with them! I talk about the future! I listen to their problems and give them referrals for services. I find that many of our students want a kind word and/or a word of reassurance, so I give it to them. I let the students know that they are not the only ones with concerns in this time of uncertainty.
- How to maintain community
I reach out to my friends and colleagues in a variety of ways. I call them on the phone if I have their phone numbers. I send them emails. I even send people things through the United States Post Office! I attend meetings and actively participate. I have a list of people who I want to communicate with, and I try to contact a few people every day. Many of you have received emails from me just asking you how you are doing. I also try and reply to emails in a timely manner!
Now for a few positive and uplifting things!
I would like to congratulate the winners of the Academic Senate Election for the two at Large Seats!
I would like to thank everyone who was involved with the Drive Through Food Pantry that was done in conjunction with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantry on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. It was an outstanding success! More people were able to receive food this time than last time. Thanks again for making this a truly successful event!
The last thing I would like to remind you of are the Guild Elections. There will be a new process, which will be outlined in the Guild’s Canvas Shell. If you have not become part of the shell, please do! The ballots should be in the Guild’s Canvas Shell by Tuesday, May 12th! Please vote as we have many issues facing us that require your vote.
This will be the last issue of Chaparral before the end of the academic year and the last that I write as the Second Vice President of the Glendale College Guild, so I would like to thank you for all your hard and outstanding work to make this academic year a success! I would also like to wish you a healthy and a happy summer!
Lastly, I would like to thank everyone for reading my articles and to thank you for allowing me to serve as the Second Vice President of the Glendale College Guild. It has been a true pleasure to serve each and every one of you!
Second Vice President
Glendale College Guild