First Day: The New Academy, Hell, and Miracles

My favorite building on campus

Forgive me for what is sure to be a rambling, pointless blog post. Despite my weariness, I promised myself I would write a post today because Microblog Mondays are part of my normal. I need as much normal as I can get these days.

For many complex reasons, my university decided to offer in-person instruction, but students have the option to attend virtually. Today was the first day of classes. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I met students in my office via ZOOM instead of in a classroom. Only a couple of my students are back on campus for in-person instruction. The others are learning from their homes because neither they nor their parents are comfortable with the still rising [COVID-19] numbers.

There’s so much more to think about during these COVID times. There are so many ways of navigating academic life that has been remapped. We wear masks and face shields; place protective shields on our desks; check temperatures and sanitize our hands when we enter buildings; we carry gloves, hand sanitizer, extra masks, and disinfectant spray; we are overly conscious of our hands and face; we remind students to “stay back” the magic distance of six feet—no hugs for those beautiful ones we haven’t seen in five months; we teach fewer students in instructional spaces and try to construct our courses so the students build connections through the digital divide.

To make matters even more interesting–here we are in the hottest part of a southern summer, and the air conditioner in our almost 80-year-old building decided to go on strike. So 95 degrees outside. 105 inside while wearing a mask. I had a taste of hell today.

Strange start to the academic year after an odd too-long/too-short summer. In these first moments, getting through [another] COVID semester seems impossible, but I keep reminding myself, the impossible gives birth to miracles.

27 thoughts on “First Day: The New Academy, Hell, and Miracles

  1. Kaya Nicole says:

    Hopefully things get better. I decided to do virtual for my children this year I’m quite nervous since I have 3 of them. I keep telling myself this is the new norm and I was going to homeschool them at some point anyway. As an instructor I know it has to be difficult not to be able to give those hugs that make everything better for the students. That’s one of the things they look forward to and now it’s not possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chandra Lynn says:

      Yes. This is tough all around. My son is doing virtual this quarter as well. We’ll see what happens after October. The kids need the social interaction, but not at the risk of their health.


  2. Janet from FL says:

    The school situation around the country concerns me, even though only my grandkids are still in school. I am praying for you and your students today. This is such a difficult issue for school administrators, teachers, students, and parents!

    Liked by 1 person

      • K E Garland says:

        Sooo the College asked me if I wanted my one hybrid class to remain hybrid or to be online. I chose online, mainly because I didn’t want to exert the effort to unlearn how to teach using constructivist methods. I was like, how am I going to teach with a mask and mandated social distancing. I don’t know what other folks are doing ;-/ Oh and recently there’s another issue…not sure how field placements will be conducted. I think we’re going to end up using videos of teaching.


      • Chandra Lynn says:

        And it is effort. Talking for more than 5 minutes straight with a mask on is not for the weak. It has me wondering about my physical health–“Am I asthmatic? Why am I so short of breath?” My classes are all hybrid, but pretty much all of my students chose to attend virtually. This is an interesting semester, so far.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. revruss1220 says:

    First of all, I LOVE the photo! Truly gorgeous.
    Second, what in the name of all that is holy is WRONG with your administrators? They should know this is not a safe time for in-person instruction. Praying for you, your students and all the others. So sorry to hear about your hellish conditions. Stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chandra Lynn says:

      Thanks for loving the photo. I edited with an app that allows users to create filters. I used a user-created filter for this one. Please don’t ask me for the name of the app. I don’t remember. :-/ As for the second point, I think it was a really, really tough decision. If we didn’t reopen with the in-person option, a LOT of people would have lost income (think dorms, cafeteria, janitorial services, etc.). Plus, a lot of the research says the students need to be in school. I teach primarily English major classes, so my course numbers are small. We are being REALLY safe and careful–gloves, masks, face shields, desk shields. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant cleaners everywhere. Classroom spaces are sanitized after each group leaves. AND instructors had the option to teach virtually or hybrid.


  4. Warren Richards says:

    Beyond words, what every heart needs to learn. Beyond what is just understood, how in-depth becomes a deeper understanding. What goes beyond the seen, how a soul finds true peace. Even when the day, what brings the unrest!

    Hope the days, bring a brighter outlook, blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sheila Marie Delgado says:

    So so sorry Chandra! This heat IS unbearable in a mask. And YES, is so much harder to talk in a mask. And walk and shop in a mask. And just about everything, in a mask. But I am so grateful to everyone who does wear a mask. 🙂
    Awful about the hugs as well, I am a hugger. It’s just not natural, to not hug. LOL. 🙂 😦
    I hope you feel a little better after writing this post. Hope it was a release for you. Neither rambling nor pointless. ;o)
    Love the photo. So warm and welcoming. And the exaggerated colors are just plain fun 🙂
    God Bless our teachers!! God Bless our students! God Bless us all and keep us in his loving embrace.

    Liked by 1 person

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