If you’ve never done it, and by it I mean teaching, you might not identify with all aspects of it. You might understand the joy of getting through to that notoriously difficult or rather uninspired student. It’s happened in enough movies and TV shows, accompanied by appropriate music to make the feeling pretty clear. You might also understand the idea of the perfect lesson–think Venus Flytrap teaching Arnold about the Atom in that classic WKRP episode. You might also understand the terror of a lesson gone horribly wrong. Today’s Perfect Moment is something else.
Teaching online is a challenge, but we sometimes forget that learning online is also a challenge. My students signed up for courses in Toronto and are now faced with being in Toronto (some unable to go home because there are no flights) with no social life and none of the attractions they came here specifically to experience. It would be wrong of us not to acknowledge their frustrations.
Today, I had what I saw as a mini rebellion, but was most likely just paying customers expressing their frustration. They didn’t do what I asked and as a result, the class got off to a clunky start. Their griping started to rise and they started telling me how to teach the class. They proposed some options which could save time…..if they actually listened to one another. I did the exact same lesson a couple of hours earlier and got it all done in less time than they took, doing it their way. I won’t be able to convince them of that, but I just wanted you to know.
Before you think that I am not writing about a Perfect Moment, I just want to assure you that I am. This one is going to have to take a little digging. Okay, it’s going to take a major excavation. I should also note that it is raining out and the temperature has dropped from the low 30s to the high teens….and it is wonderful. The sound of the rain is nice and even the lightning is inspiring.
Getting back to their rebellion of sorts. While they were complaining, I turned off my microphone and turned off my video camera. I thought about uttering a primal scream, but instead just took a couple of deep breaths and relaxed. Knowing they couldn’t see or hear me was like a mini break from them.
When I taught face to face, every now and then I had to leave the class and go out into the hallway and be alone with my thoughts. Sometimes it was to cool down and sometimes it was to send the message that I was displeased with the class. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it did not.
Today, I enjoyed my moment of anonymity and freedom to roll my eyes and smirk and snarl without them looking. They needed to complain and assert their ideas about how the class should be taught. I needed to keep my cool and still let my body language express itself even if they weren’t going to see it.
Is this a Perfect Moment? Actually, it was.