Many colleges and universities have started their Fall semester, so many of us academic librarians are returning to in-person instruction sessions. This blog post will be reflective in nature concerning the transition from virtual back to in-person instruction. I am glad that I will still have virtual instruction opportunities as well. Therefore, I can still utilize the tips and tricks that I learned virtually and continue to evolve over this year. In addition, I am excited to apply new ways of teaching to my in-person instruction sessions.
Takeaways from Virtual Instruction
You might feel many emotions if you have not done in-person instruction since Spring of 2020, especially since we are still in a pandemic. Many of us are starting to get instruction requests. The first question that I think is important is “What have you learned from virtual instruction that you can apply to in-person instruction?” I started to use the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Project Outcome Surveys for Academic Libraries during virtual instruction sessions. I will be using these as an assessment tool for my in-person sessions as well. Now I will have to make sure that I have paper copies available, too. Furthermore, I want to continue learning other engagement strategies for in-person instruction sessions. Student engagement is another aspect of virtual instruction that I can apply to my teaching style.
In-Person Plan of Action
As instruction requests are coming in, especially from instructors that I have not worked with before, I had to calibrate myself to ensure I had the critical information necessary to make the instruction session informative. So ask yourself: Do I have all the information I need from the instructor about the course? Can they meet with me to answer any of my questions, or do I need to send an email with my questions? Before this semester, I had to ask whether we were meeting via Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Blackboard Collaborate. I had to remember to get the information about the physical location of the class. So, if you are new to your campus like I am, try to make sure you know how to get to the building where you are doing the instruction session. Also, an instructor wanted me to reserve the library’s instruction room, so I had to figure out how to do this because I never had to do this before. It was these little details that I had to remember again. I realized that I had adapted to virtual instruction so well that I will have to reacclimate myself to in-person instruction again.
Consider Creating a Re-entry Plan
Navigating the pandemic has been difficult for all of us. Many of us had to adapt to survive during this time. I decided to create a re-entry plan to keep doing the things that brought me joy and prompted self-care during quarantine and when I was working from home. So do you have a re-entry plan? Have you considered ways to take better care of yourself? One thing that I want to hold on to is to continue setting boundaries. For instance, I have overcommitted myself to committee work in the past due to my passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Therefore, I decided to do no more than two external committees a year and select one internal committee. This will give me the balance that I need so that I won’t burn out.
Just remember to take it easy and be okay with re-adjusting during this Fall semester.