Teachers of TikTok

I like her style. The quarantine is unleashing all manner of creativity…

@makeshift.macaroni##ukulele ##uke ##originalsong ##teachersoftiktok ##tiktokteacher ##smallgestures♬ original sound – makeshift.macaroni

Shifting to online learning so abruptly, without any advance warning and in most cases without any training, practice or experience delivering a course from a distance, understandably elicits such a reaction.

I didn’t sign up for this!

I know the feeling. I didn’t become a teacher to be estranged from my students. And the horror of Covid-19 is all too scary and real. However, I think this new reality is bringing about a critical shift in perspective. There is no going back. Anyone hoping for things to go back to exactly the way they were is in for a rude awakening. Our world changed after 9/11. Our world changed after Pearl Harbor. These kinds of events change our world into something different. Not necessarily in a better or worse way, although it could be both, but just different than how it was before.

Honestly, for me, I refuse to return to the old way. I am happier now, more productive and creative now and am more fulfilled in my work than ever before.

Well, that is easy for you to say, Mister Digital Media Man. You love this stuff!

It is true to some extent that I do love this stuff. But I also abhor some of this stuff as well. While the world has mindlessly embraced the 24/7 commitment to smartphones and mobile technology, I have been more skittish. I don’t necessarily like what the tech does to us, particularly when we adopt it without pause or reflection. I try to be purposeful in my use of technology because it is addictive stuff.

So I feel a deep connection with the music teacher who is sad to be apart from her pupils. But I am also aware of some clever uses of technology to keep us connected while we are apart. TikTok is one of those ways, by the way, but I don’t think makeshift.macaroni’s intended audience is her students. I’m not saying it should be, simply noting that it could be if desired.

As for me and my students, we have been practicing together in this new way of being for over a decade now. Not without some resistance, I might add. I have long promoted using blogs, showing our work online, connecting online with others having the skills and knowledge that you desire, communicating in various digital formats including video conferencing. Together we have practiced. Sometimes there were misunderstandings and bumps in the road. Sometimes we wondered why we were even doing it. Now we know. We were preparing to flourish in a time like we are currently experiencing.

If you find this new reality unsettling, if it is completely unfamiliar territory and you just want it to go back to normal, it is because you have not practiced as much as I have. Things won’t stay this way forever, but they won’t return to our pre-2020 existence either. Our eyes are being opened to new possibilities. Along with the danger and the heartbreak will come new ideas and opportunities. Just like after 9/11, our world has changed forever. Better get used to it. Technology is part of our new normal and there is no going back.

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