I wasn't a big fan of giving online classes when I started teaching. Very convenient and time efficient it is; 'no doubt'- I thought. But I liked travelling around the city, getting to know new places and neighbourhoods. I guess the personal contact also played its role. It just makes a difference when you're sitting in the same room, breathing the same air. Moreover, I would spend twelve, thirteen or usually more hours at the same location on a daily basis, generally without much sunlight; at least heat was never really an issue in the kitchen. So, I was simply more up for being on the road in the sunshine rather than staying at home or the office; because I might not stay in Barcelona for my whole life. And yet here I am, some water under the bridge and a confinement later, and I kinda like it, online teaching. Perhaps I should tell a story that happened to me (us, because it was a class with two students) the other day.
Obviously sitting behind the wheel, student nr.two steers and drives along, reads a sentence when it's his turn, from what I could understand a tablet on or a screen in the dashboard, and gives the right answer. Driving can be very boring; why not spice it up with an English lesson?
After all, It was a lovely autumn afternoon. Timid sunlight was peeking through the line of trees as the car passed them. (shoutout nr.two: to student nr.two)
The class went on normally. Driver asked the Lucky Participant to do the honours of reading when we started another topic. We had a nice short discussion over it after each paragraph. Then the motion on the same little picture slowed down and came to a halt. Driver had arrived and student nr.one was abruptly out of the classroom. Learn and Ride. They say not to drink and drive but not a word on studying some English while driving. Lucky Participant and Co-driver spent the remaining time finishing the text with some pronunciation practice. All together, it was 32 minutes and I had the impression that they had been expanding their knowledge and we had a good laugh too.
I miss meeting (new) people on a daily basis. However, organising my day and making the most out of it is way easier. And with a little help from my friends I still see new faces, maybe not everyday. My bills might have been getting higher, but I don't need a monthly pass for public transportation. Even my bike sharing card is becoming obsolete (huuuge exaggeration; I just had to..).
Quality and flow of the classes are just like one of those in person. Students keep on giving me positive feedback, and I also see them improving. Material is always at hand, and showing it directly to each student is easy. Although, accessibility is an issue from time to time; the tube comes on time, from time to time..and I am just about to dig a trench through my Mom’s garden to get the optical cable from the street into the house. Both of us need the bandwidth, but the provider won’t bring it unless I dig it. Basic math.. All have it’s pros and cons. I devoted this text mainly to the pros.
So to round it up, there is no other choice at this moment but to teach online, under present circumstances. Still, I'm not sure that I'll go back to having my meal on the tube between two classes once I can. For sure not all day, everyday.
Which teacher hasn't seen (pre-covid) a mother or a father on the screen, in the early evening amidst the storm of their kids, or someone in the office chair doing as I used to on any given vehicle? Perhaps it isn’t just my life, that gets a little easier.