I know I say this every year – even years without pandemics – but how the hell is the year half over? The year seems to be flying by, especially given that March was three years long.
I recently finished teaching a summer intersession course at SFU. “Intersession” is Latin from “cram a 12 week course into 6 weeks”. At least, I think that’s the translation. This course was already planned to be an online course even before The Virus, so I was quite lucky that I’d already created a bunch of online materials (including videos that I filmed using a lightboard which was my favourite thing ever) between Nov and Feb, back when one could do things like go onto campus and be in the same room as a camera person.
I’m not a huge fan of teaching a 12 week course in 6 weeks at the best of times – I feel like it’s really hard for students to absorb the material and have time to apply what they are learning in such a short period of time – and doing it in the middle of a pandemic, like everything one tries to do in the middle of a pandemic, is that much harder. Usually I pair up teams of students with non-profit organizations and they develop an evaluation plan for that non-profit (as it’s such a good experience for students to work with real clients and the non-profit parnters tell me it provides them with useful learning and ideas too). But this year I felt like NPOs had enough on their plates without having to work with a bunch of students on a super tight timeline while everything they usually do is up in the air. So we just made do with working on evaluation plans for programs that students either already were familiar with or that they could find enough information online to work with. Then George Floyd was murdered and there was a global uprising in response, which was a lot for students to process, especially Black, indigenous, and students of colour, on top of everything else. And this was, for many students, on top of working, doing practicum placements, taking care of family, etc.
On my part, I was dealing with trying to figure out how to connect with students in this new remote way, marking stuff for a larger-than-I-expected-class as quickly as I could (which still didn’t feel fast enough), while living in this pandemic world, while also trying to learn more about white privilege and how to be an anti-racist (both personally and within my profession), so that I can contribute to equity and racial justice instead of just benefitting from our white supremacist society and being ignorant of my own complicity1. So I guess maybe that’s why the past six weeks have been a bit of whirlwind for me.
Now that that course is done, and all the side projects I’ve been working on for the past year are also done, and I don’t have any courses to teach until September, I’m in that weird (to me) place where I just have to work my regular workday from Monday to Friday and then I can do whatever I feel like with my evenings and weekends2. It’s such an unusual place for me, and it makes me feel a little bit uneasy, to be honest. But I do have a very long list of books I’ve been wanting to read, and I’m kind of excited to do that.
I also figure I need to take some vacation time at some point. Can’t really go anywhere (thanks COVID), but it would be good to get a bit of a mental break. And maybe do some of the things I’ve been meaning to do around the condo – like get some new (cat-proof) blinds and paint the insides of the closets and purge my filing cabinets of all the many papers that I no longer need. And write all the blog postings that I’ve been meaning to write. I also want to make more jams and pickles this year. Maybe go for some local hikes. Feeling very lucky that I live in a place that is spectacularly beautiful in the summer and where the pandemic is reasonably well under control, so I can do these things.