Notes from the Teacher’s Notebook: Online lessons in this half-ass quarantine

3-4-20

Sorry for the absence, but I think I’ve reached a saturation point with this pandemic. Quarantine has lost its novelty, and now it becomes tedious and irritating, especially in relation to the person you are living with. You begin, little by little, to notice more the things he fails at than the things he gets right; if he does one little thing, in your opinion, wrong, you shout at him, without patience but with exasperation, tired already of everything and everyone and yourself.

When is all this going to end? It’s going to end or, slowly is going to transform itself into something else, new, or not, a reinvention of history, some “improved” way of doing things. Version 2.0, 2.1 of Western society, of the human race? What would we call this? Because this is a global experiment, it includes all of us, the more or less fucked up, of the planet.

We’re all fucked up, in one way or another, although some, much more fucked up than others. The culture sector, or entertainment, festivals, for example, are all fucked up. Maybe it’s a good opportunity to get rid of all that, those sectors of society that we’ve been wanting to get rid of for a long time, but we couldn’t find a good excuse. Now there is one: down with the culture, the entertainment industry, the congregations, the physical union of the citizens because the coronavirus demands it. (I’m already going down the hole of conspiracies… too much, let’s leave it there).

And what about the workers who, for a minimum wage, daily risk their lives so that we can have food, so that the city is clean, the garbage is collected, the basic services work? Who takes care of all that? They, the workers at the bottom of the pyramid, those who receive the worst payments, and therefore are the least valued and appreciated by their fellow human beings.

Now we realize how much we value these kids, (how much we need them) these workers who fill the supermarkets for a miserable payment, those who do the jobs that nobody wants to do. We now realize how important they are.

Today I filled out my form to ask for the subsidy for the self-employed, because of the coronavirus. Today I was told that the place where I teach will be closed until June 1. That is, no physical classes, face-to-face, until then. All of a sudden, I and others like me, independent workers, are dependent because, thanks to the coronavirus, we are now hanging from the state’s teat.

I’m giving some classes online, but it’s not the same, it’s harder. There’s a lack of presence.

I see my students there, on the other side of my screen, in that unknown room, alone, and I realize that “presence” is missing. It is as if my presence, when we are in the normal classes, together in a room, makes them feel accompanied, and how strange, but this way, alone, it seems as if they were making more mistakes. In the first class I noticed that, and it seemed to me that my presence was needed, next to her, encouraging her to continue, so that she would feel more confident and make fewer mistakes. 

I think that the presence of the teacher is needed to learn. Because its presence radiates a warm and generous energy, welcoming, like a mother hen with her chicks, and because of that, the children trust them, feel accompanied, and learn.

Oh well, I will have to get used to the distance, and realize that I miss them too.