Different Times: Second Week

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I can’t really believe we are only in the second week. I’m not sure who WE all are, but definitely me and my freelance language teaching colleagues and everyone else who has been shut out of their companies or places they used to go to for work.

I’m trying to keep up my academic, observational approach to the whole situation, but I must admit, it is becoming harder. Already. The measures are supposed to last until end of April, we haven’t even reached the end of March.

In the New York Times, and other similar locations, more and more articles are popping up trying to encourage people. Groups willing to help others in need are coming together. Many, many initiatives that give hope that the world indeed might be a different place after Corona. At least for a time. Even the most conservative of politicians (Wolfgang Schäuble last night) are uttering sentiments like that and I’m sure glad to be in Germany in these times and not in the US – or the UK.

Our online teaching quest is continuing with mixed success, I think. At least on my side. My initial sceptism and resentment has not been proven totally wrong yet. The obstacles are various, many of which I can not name as I do not know. The devil seems to be lying pretty stubbornly in the details. I am just so grateful that at least a few of my students are willing to continue on this quest with me. To tell the truth, it is still only one group – the others are one-to-ones – and I will not invite any others before I feel more comfortable and a little more in control of whatever it is I should be in control of.

However, I have heard from others that some of their groups are really happy to have the opportunity to meet online, despite the glitches and less than perfect sound quality. And I don’t want to complain too much either. We had a pretty good laugh yesterday in one of my one-to-one meetings. We were having sound problems, probably mainly due to the time of the day when a lot of people are trying to use the system. From 9:00 to 12:00 seems to be a peak time and the strangest things can happen.

As a little delay or echo is very common, we didn’t notice it right away. The sound was getting worse, more chaotic, and we dicided to switch to our smartphones (which worked pretty well by the way, with video :-)) We left the program running in the background when I noticed that I kept hearing myself saying the same things over and over again. The last part of our conversation seemed to be stuck in some kind of loop. It was hilarious and we laughed our heads off. Not that anyone who wasn’t there might fully understand, but we at least had some fun.

I still haven’t figured out what the best way of dialing in to a meeting is: phone, computer, computer and headset….is it important that we all dial in in the same way? There are still loads of questions to be answered, certain procedures to be followed (I guess) so that things might run more smoothly. I do believe (or hope) eventually I will be a little better able to work on material I manage to share more successfully. And in the end, when all this is over, we will look back at what we liked, what went wrong, what improved, what didn’t and be SO HAPPY that we are back together in real.

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