So it seems my students and I are back to working together rather than at cross-purposes. Are things perfect? Dream on…today I completely messed up a proof of the maximum value theorem live in class…that’s what I get for winging it. (Though to give myself a bit of a break, the reason I didn’t have a look at the proof before class is that I spent my whole prep time in lab helping some students with LaTeX, even skipping lunch. And I fixed my proof in a video clip that I posted to the course web site after class.)
Anyway, the hostile tone appears to be gone, at least for the moment. I believe some interventions I had both with individuals and the group as a whole raised some awareness of unhelpful dynamics, and has resulted in a more positive climate for learning. In fact, I know of one student who figured out for himself what was going on and made a commitment to stop participating in drama created by others.
So while it has been far from pleasant getting to this point, my hope is that we’ve all learned something valuable. I’m really glad I was careful not to give in to the temptation to respond to incivility with my own incivility, that I was not provoked into abandoning my commitment to professional, nonviolent communication.
It’s nice to be loving teaching again, after a couple of very difficult weeks.