Between the coronavirus isolation, the level of pollen in the air and on everything outside, and starting to teach online tomorrow, I am feeling overwhelmed. I have had to learn Power Point all over again and a new app, Zoom, for teleconferrencing with students. I have invited my students to meet me twice a week for 75 minutes on Zoom.
It will be like teaching in a fantasy world, where I lecture from my home office, hoping someone will join me. I was told that I cannot make attendance required, as I have no way of knowing if some students have computers and wifi at home or if they share a computer with others who need to be online at the same time. So, I will record as I lecture and place the recordings on my new YouTube channel!
Zoom seems so easy, but I am having a terrible time trying to learn all of the ends and outs of this new app, especially in sharing Power Point presentations. I am no ninny, so I will figure it out, but one of my grandchildren would have mastered the new technology already! Indeed, the folks teaching the vidoes on the site are so young and have such energy that I can’t hardly stand to watch.
I have a new-found respect for on-line teachers and the amount of work that goes into creating on online course. It took me three days to create four Power Point presentations with recordings! I have to rethink the assignments and how to ensure that people are learning what I hope them to comprehend. I can’t proctor exams, so my tests will be open book, by necessity.
I enjoy the camaraderie of interacting with students, and it is such a loss to not be able to, even though it was like pulling teeth to get them to read. You don’t fully realize how much something means to you until you lose it. I took things like going to get my hair cut, going to church, and grabbing a quick sandwich at the local Wendy’s for granted. Never would I have imagined what the world is experiencing today.
As a sociologist, I know that humans are social animals, and that we need interactions with each other for our mental and emotional health. Today is my husband’s 70th birthday, and he received some nice hiking boots from two of his children that were delivered this morning. We only knew the package was there because we have the Ring, and it let me know someoe was at the door.
Yet, I am grateful for my health and strength, and I join the rest of the world in praying for a vaccine and medicines that will help to end this horror. I pray God’s peace and comfort for those struggling to live and the families of those who have died in numbers unimaginable, especially in Italy where Douglas and I spent two weeks last year. Such a beautiful country, with such warm and welcoming people!
I can’t remember anything so devastating to humanity, shared across six continents, not having lived through any world wars. Even though the HIV/AIDS epidemic was earth-shattering, it did not shut down life as we know it.
But, I am optimistic, because the world has survived wars, plagues, recessions, and depressions. We are a resilent species, marvellously and wonderfully made. And we shall survive this, too.
How long it will take will depend, unfortunately, on politicians who want to shift blame across party lines in every country, rather than work with bipartisan haste to do testing, isolating, and creating of equipment and medicine. If we can learn from the past, we might save many lives.