It all began in the third week of March when we were told that because of a new virus that was killing people in great numbers, we would have to teach from home. Personally, I had been using Blackboard to supplement my in-person classes over the years, so I thought the transition wouldn’t be that challenging; and to tell you the truth, it wasn’t. I was able to adopt this CMS and move forward with it. I think the fact that I had completed my own degree entirely online was helpful. Of course, the set-up in the doctoral program wasn’t anywhere near the innovation that Blackboard offers. In my program, assignments and materials were uploaded to the course page, and students had to complete a certain number of assignments within the deadline and upload it to the assignment page.
We are now close to the end of October and here we are, still teaching from the bedroom, living room, the basement, the attic, the bathroom, and who knows, maybe from the pigsty! Nobody knows when this thing will end! You watch the news and they’re talking about an average of some 70, 000 new cases every day! Lord, where are we headed? Just today, one of my students emailed me because she couldn’t take the midterm exam. I had already marked her absent for the evening since she never showed up or inform me that she would not attend. Well, her email had an attachment, and guess what? She tested positive for this virus! But you know what she told me? Teacher, can I take the exam? Resilience and determination!
What do you tell such a student? That she was absent, and that you would have to think about it? No, I don’t need to think about it. Here is a student who has just been diagnosed with one of the most deadly and feared viruses of our time, and what’s on her mind is that she missed her exam? No, she doesn’t have to ask me twice. I wouldn’t have marked her absent if I had known this. When I meet her for the conference, we will agree on a day and time for her to take her test. And I hope she does very well, too. And I pray that here symptoms are not of the worst kind. I pray that she will be up and about. I pray that she won’t spend a single day in the emergency room because of this virus. And I am sure she will be just fine.
How many of you out there have students who have tested positive? How did you feel? Sad, intrigued, scared? Did you pray for your student and ask whoever you believe in to come to his or her rescue? Maybe you said “Godspeed” in your heart. Share your experience and let’s have a conversation about the fears that this virus instills in us. But also the light that may come out of this unpredictable situation.