It was a short-lived soft drink, hitting its very brief and barely noticeable zenith in the mid-nineties. I remember it chiefly because of a student who was fond of it. We were heading home from Steubenville or Notre Dame following a massive youth conference. One of the teenagers -- we'll call him anonymous -- jumped into one of the fourteen passenger vans ready for the fifteen hour ride home and proceeded to down six Jolt Colas and a box or Oreo Cookies. It was a fun ride home.
Jolt had a pithy and memorable motto: All the Sugar and Twice the Caffeine. It's a testimony to the ad executive's wordsmithing that I remember that line all these years later.
If I were an ad executive trying to capture the world of teaching, or should I say Distance Learning, circa April 2020, here would be my slogan: Three Times the Work and None of the Fun!
I hate this.
I truly hate this.
I think we're four weeks into this, maybe five. It all gets hazy amidst no work, no normal church services, no soccer practices, in short few road markers that might help us distinguish between This Day and That Other Day.
And I'm suddenly reminded of elderly people who lose track of days. They're retired, so they can totally relate to the Dowager Countess who once famously quipped, "What is a weekend?"
(Aside: An odd feature of quarantine is that we get unduly excited about breaks in the monotony. Trash Day? Woo Hoo! I used to hate grocery shopping. Now it's a combination of Field Trip! Woo Hoo! and a night at the roulette table because, truly, you never know what you're going to get. Mail Delivery is a now a Spectator Sport. We love the mailman and the UPS guy. Seriously. I am ashamed to say I had never, prior to quarantine, spoken to the mailman. Now I speak to him regularly and am so very grateful for his service to us.)
But I digress.
Distance Teaching: Three Times the Work and None of the Fun.
Today I held one of the many, many Zoom classes. My precious Juniors wouldn't go on camera. I want you to know that my class usually meets first period, 8:55-9:50. Mindful that most teenagers are not known for being morning people -- thoughtful teacher that I am -- I hold my virtual class at 1:00. Only one person was on camera.
I want to see their faces. I miss their faces. I miss their humor. I miss their antics and their ideas and their energy.
Next week I plan to sweeten the deal and offer extra credit if they turn their cameras on.
As an English teacher, I routinely face an avalanche of papers. The piles can be daunting, but they are nothing -- nothing!! -- compared to endless electronic assignments that come via email or text or student information system with attachments and comments and questions and photos of greatly varying quality all mixed in with the phone bill, my latest order from The Children's Place, a reminder that I have a dermatology appointment the week after next, a thoughtful note from Delta Airlines reminding me that "We're all in this together," and a notification from Zoom about my next class.
Needle in a vast, vast electronic haystack. Give me back my stacks!
Edit. Save. Edit. Save. Edit. Save. Edit. Save. Edit. Save. Edit Save.
When I zoomed into Zoom, it appears that my class is still scheduled for 1:00 Pacific Standard Time.
I cried uncle. Zoom 1, Kelly 0.
O take me back to the piles of papers! Real papers. Actual papers. Papers that can't be deleted and that, mostly, can be read and that aren't mixed up with the light bill and the notification that the vet remains closed.
O take me back to classes that start and end in Eastern Standard Time!
Take me back to students with actual faces I can see!
(And I know, I know, I know, I know that this too shall pass. In the big scheme of things, these are minor irritations. They are nothing. But to me they are something).