August 23rd, 2022
Yesterday I had a session with the psychoanalyst. I started with therapies recently, during the lockdown caused by the pandemic. All the sessions were online through one video conferencing platform that became very popular.
The classes I taught were also online—a real challenge. I soon noticed that my students generally lost attention after forty-five minutes. I designed a syllabus with no more than three-quarters of hour sessions. To complete class time, I recorded audios that I uploaded on a podcast platform. My students listened to them while doing their daily activities. It was a good experience for me and—I hope—for them too.
In one of the first classes, I could see how the mother of a young student passed behind. He was a bit embarrassed. I had to ask them many times to mute their microphone because she heard some music in the background or the family dog barking.
My cats also passed in front of the camera. At first, I tried to remove them from there, but later I stopped. Sometimes, while teaching my students at the University, the children were learning in their primary school classes. On some occasions, they came to my study to ask me for help with the internet connection, to quibble about how boring their class was (which made me think that my students could nitpick about the same thing with my classes), or to look for their 30-centimeter ruler.
Virtually "entering" my students' homes and allowing them to enter mine left me with a sense of humanity. They realized their teacher was also part of a family, with domestic responsibilities: boys asking for attention, pets passing in front of the camera, and background noise.
I felt the same when I participated in an academic meeting or in the thousands of commissions in which full-time professors participate.
Now we have real meetings again, in salons and classrooms.
I see my colleagues and, inevitably, I think that they are not only my colleagues, but they are also part of a family who must take care of their children, do the shopping, and take care of their pets. I think they are also people who can get sick. Hopefully, this effect of the pandemic will last us a long time.