Pre-COVID 19, my office door at 41 Leavenworth was always open for students to walk in to say hi or for a little help with their work.
Now it’s always slightly ajar, a little less welcoming, I know, but it allows me to take my mask off.
Plus, they can see me through the glass to the side of the door and I’m quick to throw my mask on and welcome them in.
Despite needing glasses to see faces in the back of the room in the bigger classrooms, I was initially going without them this semester because I hadn’t found the right mask-glasses formula to prevent fogging.
That gets a little problematic when trying to learn names and faces in a 25-person class, but I’m getting there.
And as I continue writing this a week after I started it, I have found the solution thanks to a student. If you loop the strings and then put them over your ears, it forms a tighter seal and I can now keep my glasses on – and I pretty much know all the names now as a result.
But masks aside, it feels good to be back.
I survived just fine teaching students on a screen. The student newspaper was able to be published – despite being done on six different computers in six different locations using Zoom to communicate.
It’s a testament to the Spartan staff members that the hard copy paper returned after months of online only content. I was so proud of them.
But teaching and designing a newspaper online was hard.
And less fun.
I missed the chats in my office, both with colleagues and students. I missed being at the front of the class, bouncing around getting excited to ask questions and more excited to lure out correct answers and inspired debate.
I can get a little riled up on a screen, but it’s always from a seated position, stationary, scanning little boxes for raised hands from less-than-enthused faces.
Just this afternoon, as I was chatting with a student after the student newspaper meeting, a former Spartan editor, who is dating the student, popped in to say hello.
It was so great to see him and talk about writing and music and living with her.
That would have been a text last year, and much less fun.
We’re clearly not out of the COVID woods yet, evidenced by recent administration directives to at least have a plan if we are forced by an outbreak to go remote again.
But for now I’m savoring it.
Savoring seeing students in-person, mask to mask.