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Aug 25, 2020, 06:27AM

For Teachers About to Spend the Year Teaching Remotely

It's not an ideal situation, but we will adapt, and we will still learn.

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1. Don't worry about how awful this situation is. Every time you turn your computer on, just remind yourself there are no broken copy machines on Zoom.

2. Think of all the time you'll save. Instead of driving and parking and walking, you can let all the hours bleed together, until your gums are bleeding too! Just keep the blood off of your keyboard.

3. As a teacher, meeting new students is so important. Now instead of greeting them, shaking their hands, and making them as comfortable as you can in your classroom, just make sure they know how to "unmute" themselves on Zoom.

4. The smells of a classroom are familiar. The newly-sharpened wood of a lead pencil. The strange print smell of the old copy machine. The bad breath and body odor of the humans in the seats. What’s that smell I'm noticing? Mildewed grass from the lawn mower? A lost dirty diaper?

5. Teaching is about communication, connection and humanity. Thankfully, Zoom is all about your Internet connection and communicating via email and your Zoom chat box, which half of your students can't seem to find despite your best efforts.

6. I teach English to adults. They have come from all over the world to Berkeley, California. They share their stories. Now they get to use a confusing technology that many of their children have to help them navigate. The journey to the Zoom classroom is just like flying halfway across the world.

7. Teaching early in the morning isn't easy. Teaching at night isn't easy. Now that you're always home and time has dissolved into a fully abstract concept, what's the difference?

8. Have you ever had that one student who just can't stop interrupting all the other students, or judging, or making side comments? Now you can mute that student whenever you like. Or conveniently forget to send them the Zoom invite link.

9. As difficult as it is, teaching online is better than not teaching at all. Try and let go of any self-criticism or frustration. If you're healthy and employed, you’re not in bad shape. Get to know your students and keep them laughing. Otherwise, we'll all be zooming right to self-medication.


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