Highs, Lows, Shout Outs, and Lessons Learned

By Summer Cherland
History Faculty, South Mountain Community College

This whole thing started with an email to my colleagues and a conversation with my students. In those first few days, when the realization began to wash over us that campus would likely close, we wouldn’t see our students again for a very long time, and that the quarantine could likely last for several months. “Writing our way out” became the only option. Let’s write our way out of isolation. Let’s write our way out of this fear and this loss. I floated the idea to a few students, thinking maybe one of them would respond. I sent a relatively raw email to other faculty, just introducing the idea. Within an hour, we had our first faculty-written blog. By the end of the week, we had interviewed three students from SMCC.

By April 1st, fifty-nine students had written posts and granted us permission to publish their words. Most were from SMCC. A few were from Arizona State University, Phoenix College, and Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Some wrote me from Nevada. One called me from Texas.

And then it went global. This last week, we interviewed prolific author Dr. Helen Sword from New Zealand. On that same day, an Assistant Professor of English in Kolkata, India reached out with a piece for us to publish (coming soon). Nationally, we spoke with experts, faculty, and students in Arkansas, Washington, D.C., Texas, and Colorado.

What do you do with all of this content? Why, start a podcast, of course! We’ve published our first five episodes. Go easy on us in the first few episodes. We’re learning! Want to listen but not sure where to start? Take a look at our weekly roundup episodes where we give an overview of that week’s highs and lows, interviews and posts, and chat about what we’ve learned.

Weekly Roundup I (with Summer and Cody Cherland. featuring music by Jake and Emily Speck)

Here are some highlights from the Weekly Roundup I episode:

  • Cody and Summer’s Highs (unexpected student-response, proof of resiliency and grit) and Lows (screen fatigue, packing up a classroom) of the week
  • Four student spotlights, including three student-written posts and one student interview
  • Thanks to Jake and Emily Speck in Houston, TX for writing our new music!
  • Plugs for Dr. Anna Switzer’s episode and bonus offers for her book, Licence to Learn.
  • Several shout-outs to our loyal listener, Wasim.

Looking ahead to the coming weeks:

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