Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Yeah, thanks, Zoom

 Went in to teach my first class of the day. Two people are quarantining, a couple more have long commutes/kids at home, so about half the class joins remotely. I get everything set up, start teaching. Chat message comes through:

"I can't hear you"

More "I can't hear you"s come through.

So I sigh, shut down the Zoom meeting (after warning people through the chat), restart.

Again: I can't hear you.

Finally, somehow, I clicked on the microphone, and it unmuted me. Apparently Zoom now - if you "automute" the people coming in to the meeting* also mutes the meeting host. This is apparently a new thing and OF COURSE does Zoom deign to e-mail its users? No. Of course not.

(*This is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY because some people won't mute themselves, even if you ask, and I've heard loud tvs, singing children, car noise, someone talking to another person, and ALL KINDS OF auditory cruft, and that kind of thing shatters my very weakened attention and makes me teach even worse than I already do. I don't know why some people won't/don't mute, maybe they don't know how? But I have PLEADED with people to mute unless they are speaking)

But yeah. I am very fed up with trying to simultaneously spin plates and hula hoop, which is what teaching in person with an online component is. And teaching all online is even worse. 

I just want this (many expletives redacted) pandemic OVER so maybe before I retire I can once again teach the way I teach well and enjoy teaching. The news of one of the vaccine trials having to be "paused" does not make me happy; the continued refusal of some to mask up in public frustrates me. Some days I really wonder: if this is "forever" now, as in, we will never get out of this, how much longer can I go on? If I quit my job, how could I earn enough to live on and also not go nuts from not having a "purpose" in life? 

And I'm angry at Zoom for adding yet one more memory burden on to me - my memory is shot to Hell as it is. It's like I'm carrying 20 books, and someone comes to me and goes, "Wow, that's a heavy load of books" but instead of offering to take one or two, they go "Here, a couple more can't hurt!" and drop a few more on the stack. Eventually I'm gonna drop ALL the books because it's too many.

Apparently I was not the only one unaware; I mentioned the muting thing to a colleague and he was like "Oh, THAT was why my student who is having to quarantine said he couldn't hear me!" I did send an e-mail out to the department - that's different than the targeted "You need to come show me!" of yesterday because I did it on my own time and it took two seconds. 


Two other things: Apparently last night I dreamed that my alarm went off, and I got up and re-set it for the hour-later time I use when I am not getting up early to exercise. I distinctly remember my alarm having gone off - and I woke up again a bit later and thought "oh no, did I miss my wake up time" but it was 12:38 am so I don't know. 

But my alarm WAS reset for the later hour, so I guess I did get up after the dream and reset it? This is bad if I start doing that. 

I don't like having such incredibly vivid and realistic dreams. On the one hand it worries me that something's wrong with my brain, like organically wrong, and on the other, I don't feel rested when I get up because I feel like I lived through another whole day.


And driving back to campus this afternoon, feeling disheartened: I am working too hard to be teaching this badly. Either I should be working hard and teaching well, or I should be slacking off (so I can have fun or at least attend to other life matters) and teach badly. Instead, I have the worst of both - working hard (hours, literal hours to get an exam into Zoom, even if it's one that's mostly already written on paper) but feeling I'm just constantly falling down and doing badly and yes, I know that's a big part of my malaise - I feel like I am having no success anywhere and that's an absolutely horrible feeling to have.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

Oh, heavens, yes! People do not mute themselves and think the music they're playing in the background, their neighbor mowing the lawn, and the sotto voce aside to the spouse is not audible.
That would be a great big negatory!