Slice of Life 3: Weather or Not
By Janice Ewing
So, like thousands (millions?) of others, I’m watching the weather this week and thinking about what plans might be have to be adjusted. Among them, a new grad class due to start on Thursday evening. The back-up plan for a weather-related cancellation is to have an online class, and this has worked well in the past. However, I have never had the situation of having the first session online, before we’ve had a chance for at least one face-to-face meeting. The prospect is raising questions for me about the differences between meeting people online versus face-to-face.
This brings me back to my earlier thinking about body language (SoL 2). That first evening, it’s always interesting to watch the teachers arrive. Do they appear tired, stressed, glad to see each other, anxious about starting a new class, comfortable settling into familiar seats and routines (they know each other; I’m the new kid on the block)? I won’t see that. They’ll introduce themselves and share reactions to readings and preliminary ideas for course projects. I’ll introduce myself and respond to them, having to measure my words more carefully than if we were sharing a physical space, setting a tone of friendliness and support, but also of competence and clarity about expectations for the weeks ahead. If this turns out to be the case for week 1, I’m wondering what week 2 will be like. Will we already have a sense of knowing each other from our online conversations? Will it feel like a beginning, or a part of a continuing process of forming the trusting community that encourages us to learn together?
* This “Slice of Life” post is part of a larger blog series, hosted by the blog site, Two Writing Teachers: A Meeting Place for a World of Reflective Writers.
Janice Ewing is an adjunct for Cabrini College and a co-director for the Pennsylvania Writing & Literature Project. Janice co-facilitates PAWLP’s “Continuity Days” and this blog. She is an avid reader and writer, and especially enjoys writing poems.
You ask interesting questions. I “know” many people online only. When I meet them in person, I feel like I’m getting together with an old friend. Whichever way it works out for your class, community is sure to be formed because it sounds like you will be cognizant of making it happen. Good luck! (I’m ready for this weather to move on and have spring take its place).
Online connections can ease the way for “real life” ones – that’s always been the way with this TWT writing community. Many of us meet in person only after we’ve met online – and seems to always work out so well.
online icebreakers and add more to introductions, something to give a sense of place — you may have to take the lead there. Teaching online I would ask for a link or image about their area but start with posting pictures (+ link) of the small NM town where I live
PS my usual blogging is about adjunct issues (on a different blog than I am using for SOL15). One of my projects is collecting and bundling adjunct blogs using InoReader.