Well, personally lockdown has been an interesting experience for me.
I still receive my salary, have a house to live in, food to eat, I am warm and safe, thus I realize that I am very blessed at this time.
Lockdown also forced me to do some introspection. Where do I find my energy and peace? Lecturers and teachers have an audience the whole day but at this time you must be able to cope (and THRIVE) without the sensation of the constant feedback from the students you get every day. Maybe you’ve seen in the news that some countries are thinking of having cardboard cutouts of people in the seats at sports events. That way the players feel that they are playing for “someone” and not an empty stadium. I have a bit of a problem with this. God challenged me in this time with the concept of who am I teaching for? Him? Or do I need an audience to be able to perform my best… It is nice to have people cheering you on but does that then mean if you don’t, you struggle to do your best?
The second thing I realized was how quickly a misunderstanding can take place when you are not talking face to face with someone. I had to REALLY look at how clear and specific my instructions are in the messages I send my students every day. There is a great video clip on YouTube to illustrate this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ct-lOOUqmyY&feature=share (This “exact instructions challenge” is so hilarious).
Thirdly, I heard something I have NEVER heard in my 20 years as a lecturer from a student: ”Mam, I miss class, can’t the college open, please?” As if I have the authority to do that.
Fourthly, I started sending some of my colleague's weekly emails with interesting facts. E.g. the white sand on some of these exotic beaches is actually fish poop! The parrotfish eat coral and then it turns into white sand before they poop it out. In Samoa, it is apparently illegal to forget your wife’s birthday and the longest word in the world is the name of some or other type of protein, consists of 189 819 letters and takes over 3hours to pronounce. It has been keeping us busy, fact-finding, and laughing about the silly ones.
Fifthly – normally I have a lot of hobbies but teaching remotely has been taking up almost all my time BUT I did find a lady on the internet called Leslie Sansone. She has this whole walking at home empire. So every evening after “work” all the furniture in the tv room gets moved and we WALK. You can walk a mile, 2 miles, 3 miles, I am now up to the 5km walk with a twist. DO NOT underestimate the fact that it is “just” walking. I started art classes in February but now during lockdown, we cannot meet, so we are also remote learning. Once a week we have a 2.5hour online art class and I have been learning to draw and paint via Starleaf.
I think lockdown has forced us to take a real good look at ourselves. I hope that the creative ideas that people have implemented, the changes we’ve made, the positive attitudes some have adopted will remain long after COVID 19. Maybe we will all be kinder to each other.
That’s my experience
Lizét van den Heever
Senior Lecturer: EDUCARE