I just completed week 2 of teaching online and boy do I have some opinions! This is my first time teaching remote and I’ve already amassed a little list of what I hate and love so far. Let’s start with the negative so that I can get it out of my system.
Despite all of its great features, I can’t stand teaching via Zoom. It’s awkward. I can’t read body language or facial expressions because the tiles are so small. Especially with my bigger section, my students are spread over two pages which means I can only see a portion of my class at a time. With the lack of social cues, we sometimes end up talking over each other. And undoubtedly, someone will say “can you all hear me?” at least once per class.
Not everyone has their video on, no matter how many times I remind them. So who knows if they’re actually paying attention. What’s worse, though, are those who do have their video on but are clearly looking at other things on their computer because they smile and laugh at random times. I feel self conscious in a way I haven’t since I first started teaching. I will say, none of this is the fault of Zoom specifically but is just a natural part to teaching in an online format.
Poor internet connection
Luckily, I am fortunate enough to live in an area with a stable internet connection. Oh, and I can afford to pay for high speed internet. Unfortunately, a good number of my students aren’t so lucky. This means that when they do attempt to participate, none of us can hear them or the video lags behind the audio or vice versa. I fear that this may discourage them from trying to speak up in the future if every time they virtually raise their hand and talk, I say “I can’t hear you!”. (I’ll get into my love of the chat feature as an alternate form of participation in my next post all about things I love about remote teaching).
Never-ending screen time
Back in the olden days when I taught face to face (I swear this year has been going on for a decade), teaching my classes was a great way to get away from my computer screen. I would traipse across campus and get some much needed fresh air and then spend an hour leading discussions. Now, the only traipsing I do is the walk from my desk to my kitchen to my bathroom back to my desk. And instead of stealing a few moments away from the screen, I’m glued to it for 8 hours straight.
No more compliments
I’m about as self-obsessed and narcissistic as they come, okay? And I feel no shame in that. I used to dress hella cute and got compliments on my outfits from my students all the time. I thrive on compliments. Because again, I’m full of myself. But now? All they see is me from the shoulders up. And even if they could see the rest, they wouldn’t see a cute dress and earrings that matched. Instead, it’s all yoga pants and a plain shirt.
Okay, rant over! Next week, I’ll tackle some of the good stuff 🙂 What are some of your least favorite parts about teaching online or online meetings?