For many of us, the past two semesters may have been the most challenging semesters that we have ever had, not only with classes suddenly being shifted online, but also many other administrative issues like a decrease in enrollment and academic support that negatively affect our morale and our ability to teach. There is every reason for us to give up and call it quit.
But as every cloud has a silver lining, many positive outcomes have emerged from this challenging time that I experienced firsthand. First of all, I have come to learn and appreciate my colleagues and my students’ resiliency. All of us at the workshop somehow magically and successfully managed to pull off the spring semester with little to no guidance. We experimented with different teaching methods to offer high quality online classes to our students. My students, too, demonstrated superb resiliency. With many classes moved to asynchronous online, they dramatically changed their study habits and found a way to stay focused in order to be successful.
Secondly, the workshop, even in the virtual format, truly verified that support and help were all around. Countless discussions and ideas ranging from which textbooks to use or which papers are appropriate for literature discussions were shared during breakout sessions. Any questions that were asked were answered. These were not just helpful resources for developing an inorganic chemistry class, which was the main reason all of us attended the workshop. But as importantly, they were so crucial for our morale. It is comforting to know that we always have each other’s back, and if anyone ever needs help, someone will be there.
And lastly, we, inorganic chemists, are cool people (I actually have known this for awhile). I am grateful that I have participated in the workshop and have met everyone!