I really miss the morning hallway connections with my friends and colleagues. No holding the door for Laurie finding her key. No comparing commute notes with Linda and Julie on a snowy morning. No quick reminders from Carrie that we need the projector in the auditorium today. And no Red Sox update from Mark who knew Mookie was history months ago. Those things don’t happen with the extreme distancing. We don’t try to gather for 10 minutes of mindfulness in Debbie’s room. Well, we tried, once, but online it’s not the same, at least not yet.
In fact, it feels more frantic. There is an underlying strain to hear our students’ voices, to make sure they are all OK, to follow up on issues that troubled this one or that one. There are no faces to read, no body language to explain to us how it’s really going as we try to set the stage for brains and souls to focus on new ideas. We are all in enormous empty spaces where our most important connections are very far away, filtered through Gmail mostly, mediated by skill sets that don’t yet include clear voices in writing. It’s no one’s fault, but it is a daily strain. We were made to look each other in the eye and smile or laugh or worry or cry together.
In the afternoon, 25 or so of us got together in a Hangout to talk about using the Edpuzzle service to make better use of video in lessons. It was my time to lead, and I put on a headset with a mic so the sound was somewhat improved. Everyone else politely muted their mics and for stretches of 10 minutes or so I talked and demonstrated on my screen and could hear nothing but my own voice inside the pads of the headphones. No breathing, no chuckles (I make jokes) or guffaws (I botch jokes); dead silence. Questions came in as they arose from time to time and the session was effective enough, I think, to help people learn a bit and move on to apply that learning. But I keep feeling a bit like Bowie’s Major Tom: “Here am I sitting in a tin can, far above the world.” Ground control to Mahoney.....hang in there!
11 days down.