In early 2020, when I agreed to keynote at the Spring 2021 CUE conference, the world was a very different place than it is today. We had no idea how things were about to change, or that this gathering of educators that normally took place in Palm Springs would be moved, like every other event in the world, to this space we call virtual. It’s a space many of us have grown accustomed to by now, for better or worse, and trying to teach and learn and interact virtually for such a long time has forced us to make hundreds of little adjustments.

While some teachers have figured out how to make this new reality work really well, many are just “making it work,” white-knuckling their way through it until it’s over. There was talk of these crazy new circumstances giving us an opportunity to reinvent education, but few people ever had the time or energy or spirit to do that. One thing has been consistent across the board, though: We have all been forced to reconsider what it takes, what it really takes, to give someone a good education.

Now it looks like the end may truly be in our sights. We can see a time in the not-too-distant future when restrictions will be lifted and we’ll be able to meet with all of our students face to face. So the question that’s on a lot of educators’ minds now, the question I will attempt to answer in my Spring keynote, is How will things be different when we go back? Maybe an even better question is How SHOULD things be different? Because if anything is clear as I gather insights from teachers everywhere, it’s that change is definitely needed. All this upheaval and loss and waiting and heartache can’t have been for nothing. Our eyes have been opened to so many problems that existed long before anyone ever heard the word coronavirus, and the impatience around dealing with them has gotten stronger. We have momentum like never before; the question is, will we use it?

Join Jennifer on Thursday, March 18th at 6:00pm PST as she kicks off this year’s Spring CUE with her opening keynote! Register for Virtual Spring CUE today at cue.org/spring!

Jennifer Gonzalez is a National Board Certified teacher. Her twelve years of classroom experience include teaching English language arts in middle school and preparing pre-service teachers at the college level. In 2013, Gonzalez started her blog, Cult of Pedagogy, where she shares effective teaching and assessment practices, curates top-notch educational resources, explores how race and culture intersect with education and studies the effective use of technology in the classroom. Today, Cult of Pedagogy is a full-fledged education operation, with Gonzalez at the helm. Her blog has expanded to a popular podcast, a collection of videos, and even an online store.

About Kristin Oropeza
Kristin is a full-time special education teacher, contract consultant, and educational content writer. She is a Google Certified Teacher (Level 1 and 2), Google Certified Trainer, and MIE Expert for 2020-2021.