This week’s article is by Leandro Borges Lima. Leandro is one of IBCoM’s newest lecturers who studies video games and teaches several BA-1 courses. Enjoy!
If you had a tutorial with me in the previous 3 terms, you probably noticed that: a) I like to move (it, move it) during class; b) I tell bad jokes; c) I like kneeling down in front of you to hear your thoughts, doubts and questions ; d) I like sharing food at some point to celebrate our moments together. As you can imagine, now that we are teaching via Zoom, I cannot do any of those things, and that is truly gloomy. Quarantine tutorials have posed us, lecturers, a series of challenges, and a tricky learning curve we are still trying to overcome with different degrees of success (and we truly appreciate your patience and support in the process!).
It is just not the same, right? It is not what we all signed up for. I can talk about how hard it is to, overnight, translate activities meant to be made in a classroom to whichever possibilities the software’s at hand give us, from Zoom Breakout rooms to Canvas discussion pages. I can also highlight that it is absolutely tiring to teach online, more than it is in the classroom, as weird as it may be thinking about it rationally. Lastly, I can definitely talk about how absolutely Black Mirror-ish it feels to be talking to a screen for a couple of hours – in the hopes the other side has not muted your audio yet. But those are boring, blue quarantine topics. I want to talk about one thing I have been missing a lot: the warmth of the classroom.
There is something about it that really makes my teaching days better than any other day. Walking to the classroom is always a thrill, especially on the first day, as you have no idea how those names-turned-to-faces will react to you as you weirdly try to bond with them. I am always very nervous those days, but as soon as I step in the classroom and take a look at the many young faces yearning for knowledge, or trying really hard to not fall asleep in post-lunch tutorials, my nervousness dissipates. I can feel this warm energy from each of you: how your voices fill the void of the classroom, the random laughs, the puzzled faces when hearing the weird academic lingo, the uncertainty that comes with raising a hand to ask a question, and the boldness of stating your thoughts in front of your classmates. I miss that, a lot. It’s been hard for all of us, but I feel honestly lucky to still be able to teach and see your faces every week, have a brief chat in Breakout Rooms and your learning progress. It’s a blessing that is keeping me sane and less lonely.
We are bravely fighting a pandemic, we will push through and soon be able to resume our campus activities, to see each other on a daily basis, to face long queues at Spar for that amazing cheese croissant, to rush from Mandeville to G-Building in 5 minutes to make it to the next class. Sure, there are ways to make our online classes feel a bit less daunting, but it is never the same, and we have to adapt to this “new normal” and figure out new ways to have this warmth back. In the end, a classroom is less about the physical space itself, but the people that imbue any space with values of learning, curiousness, and friendship – and we have a lot of that to share!
Author: Leandro Borges Lima