I just returned from teaching in-person at Penn State. I teach two small sections of an honors advanced writing course. I was so nervous that it would feel wrong and disconnected and awkward. I was nervous it would feel unsafe.
But guess what? Everyone felt safe. Everyone felt thankful to be present with one another. I’m amazed at how natural and easy it felt and how connected we felt even in masks and when socially distanced. I included some photos from the morning. Even though students gave permission to share, I blurred out their faces just in case.
First, I completed my symptom checker.
Then, I arrived to a mostly empty campus and secured my PPE from the English department’s (also empty) mailroom. Then, I arrived to my classroom, wiped down the computer, microphone, and surfaces, and then welcomed students into their socially-distanced seat. They could take a disinfectant wipe and wipe down their own desks if they wished. Everyone wore masks. Everyone could hear one another. Everyone participated joyfully. Then, everyone filed out in an orderly way, sanitized their hands, and went on with their day.
I’m more at peace with my decision to teach an in-person class after today!