I spend a lot of time online at the moment, it’s what I get paid to do. And each time I enter a classroom and see all the separate frames of everyone who has also enter the classroom, the biggest fear I have is not whether we will cover the right topics, not that we will develop the right arguments, not that we will really get anywhere with the syllabus (because we will and we do), the biggest fear I have with each class a simple one, a primeval one, fundamental, existential; how can we stay connected when we are all so separate now?
How can we be together when we are apart?
I suppose the first way to answer this is by making sure that we have something in common to talk about, a topic, a film, book, statement, article, story etc etc. That’s fine and I always make sure that we do have, but here’s the problem; the one real thing we all have in common in class is that we are separate, not together, and all the topics, films, books, statements, articles, and stories, currently cannot change that. And that’s hard to overcome.
Can we overcome it? I think so. We can overcome this by being quieter, and kinder, gentler with each other, not expecting too much all the time, understanding that sitting where we are sitting and doing what we are doing is not where we want to be sitting but is where we are actually sitting so we have to make sure that the fact of our sitting where we’re sitting is something to celebrate not denigrate. It is where we are, after all, and so we should be pleased to see each other, to hear each other, to talk and laugh and joke, yes, joke, and share the time together.
The world will take care of itself, but only if we take care of each other.