It’s been a rough week, but I’m better for having gotten through it!
I had to miss both my seminars this last week due to mental health and/or physical health struggles. I was dealing with some fairly major stuff, and the good news is that with help I’m feeling much healthier and stronger. Thanks all of you who reached out!
Teaching has been ok. I am fortunate in that my students had already turned in two major assignments before spring break, so I feel better about making the second half of the semester less work and less rigid than I had planned. The assignments are very simple and honestly pretty easy. Several of my students have reached out to me directly describing fairly serious anxiety and depression (they are all getting the help they need, as far as they’ve told me) as a direct response to the pandemic. I’ve basically told them to prioritize themselves and not my class. I’ve also heard some horrific stories of how other professors are handling the shift to online–for example, taking exams with your laptop camera running so the prof knows you didn’t cheat. It’s difficult for me to imagine thinking this was a good idea for my class–however, I don’t teach Bio or Chem or any of the classes where exams are pretty much required.
Personally, I feel very good about how I’ve transitioned my class to online. Not the class itself–I taught Advanced Comp online for years, and it takes a lot of planning and design to make online classes interactive, etc., and I did none of that for this class, for obvious reasons. But I feel good about how I’ve communicated and interacted with students during a crisis, and they’ve been giving me positive feedback that is very gratifying. It’s led me appreciate the role we have as instructors of college students; the opportunity we have to model compassion and kindness in the classroom, in addition to all the FYW stuff we try to teach them. This experience has renewed my drive to teach, to be a positive force in academia. That’s very special, and I’m grateful for it.