Preparing to Return to the Classroom in the Fall

In our youthful days, we relished the summer months. This period allowed us to enjoy summer vacation trips, have fun in the warm weather, delight in the long days, stay up late, sleep in, and visit friends and relatives who we normally did not see throughout the school year. As we got older, the break allowed us to work a summer job, secure that coveted “card” allowing us to now drive legally, and engage in other miscellaneous teenage activities based on the era we were raised in.

Now as working professionals, summers are just simply “another” period within the year. For some, this period is filled with summer travel on crowded planes or in vehicles where we can remain cool without having to roll down the car windows for a breeze; transporting kids to sporting activities; catching up on projects around the house; and strike teams/mutual aid deployments for many fire service personnel on the west coast.

Equally important, the summer period for fire & EMS instructors is a time to reflect on instructional lessons learned during the fall and spring semesters for individuals who teach at an academic institution. This is also a reflection period for instructors in fire and EMS organizations as well.

As the summer break approaches, the following are best practices for instructors (virtual & in person) getting ready for the new semester and new year:

• Ensure your course shell on your learning management system is up to date
• Check status of hyperlinks
• Refresh articles, recorded lectures, and other activities on your course shell
• Meet with other faculty members and instructors in your discipline—ensure everyone shares the same mission related to learning outcomes
• Check the status and inventory of tools, equipment, supplies for your pre/in-service fire academy and EMT courses
• Send out reminders early to students advising on resource needs prior to the first day of class
• Implement strategies that satisfy collaborative learning
• Implement strategies that support active learning
• Implement strategies that support an inclusive learning environment
• Implement strategies that support culturally relevant teaching

The goal has and will always continue to revolve around creating an environment and opportunities that enhances learning for current/future first responders. Have a great fall semester in the classroom, virtual classroom, or both!

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