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My Last Bearded Class

Even something as pure as mathematics has been laid low by COVID. In a Zoom class, calculators must be allowed, because there is no way to prevent their use, without excessive surveillance, which is anathema to the apprenticeship tradition.

This class, a pre-apprenticeship class, heightens the importance of developing “soft skills,” skills that also are not conducive to remote learning. “Working lunch,” a time where highly motivated apprentices could gain additional time with their journeymen, now only means logging in early.

Over the past year, we at CWE have endeavored to migrate our values and traditions onto this Learning Management System (LMS). We have designed it to protect your privacy. Its structure is to encourage group work and discussion. A workflow process has been designed to ensure that each apprentice will receive unique assessments.

Doing so has lowered us into a “Groundhog Year” experience. I gave up shaving sometime in February. I hope to return to that luxury at the completion of this Cycle 9 Trades Math class.

In a pre-apprenticeship trades math class, not only math is being taught. Submitting assignments on time is critical to success. Acknowledging personal weaknesses and communicating them is especially hard in a Zoom class. 30+ workers learning in the same class, under these conditions, makes it even more imperative that we remember: we are all in this together.