Forget everything I said before about being blue. Today I’m Spartacus. And not for any honorable or dignified reason, but simply because a ridiculing colleague received a metaphorical bloody nose today with compliments of the corona asshole.
About three years ago, my university’s computer nerds asked me to trial run new video conferencing software intended for online teaching. It’s very similar to the Zoom platform that has become so popular now.
I’ll try anything once, so I said ‘sure!’
I honestly did not expect to fall in love with it to the extent that I did. Online teaching is not for everyone – I’ll be the first to admit that – but it suits my personality. And to my astonishment, it created a greater sense of intimacy with my students. In a class of 600 students, that does not happen easily.
So for the last three years I’ve been combining online and face-to-face teaching and I’ve been pretty darn happy with the results.
And you know there’s always a but…
The butt in this story is…let’s call him Bubba. Bubba is a hotshot colleague who, if you asked our bosses, walks on water and pees wine. Bubba took one look at my new teaching approach, rolled his eyes so hard it sounded like a slot machine hitting jackpot, and started listing the reasons why online teaching ‘is simply a medium for watered-down education’.
I respect Bubba. As much as it pains me to admit it, he’s great at what he does. But I kept at it.
Whenever the prospects and advantages of online and remote teaching were raised in meetings, Bubba would let out a big guffaw and explain why it will never work. Many others joined him in giggling at my ideas.
Is fine. I can dealio.
Then today – in an online meeting mind you – our boss congratulated me on my teaching efforts during our country’s lockdown and read out a thank-you letter a student had written about me.
And then our boss Michelle Rodriquez-ed Bubba’s nose. He said I should assist in training all those lecturers not yet fully engaged in online teaching and support practices!
Yes yes, I know it’s not nice to gloat. I’ll ask for forgiveness as soon as this feeling wears off.
For what it’s worth, my on screen face didn’t beam with sick satisfaction. I stoically replied that I will do my utmost. I greeted my boss and colleagues with professionalism. I exited the online meeting room.
Then I opened iTunes.
Then I clicked on Dolly Parton’s Nine to Five.
Then I danced my ass off, occasionally throwing my hands in the air and yelling ‘Oooh ooh!’
It felt like those mocked professors in end-of-the-world movies….you know, the ones who study these strange and unlikely topics and when the great apocalypse comes, the American President calls upon them because they are the only ones on earth who can save the planet thanks to their expertise in these strange and unlikely topics.
Well, today I got to save my little planet. It feels great.
Tomorrow I’ll wake up and I’ll just be the same old happy loser I’ve always been. But today…today is a good day…