To our professors, teachers and instructors:
First of all, thank you.
Thank you for trying your best during this strange time. As we, the students, grapple with our emotions regarding the end of a year and an unknown future, you are doing the same thing. Like us, you are balancing your feelings with your responsibilities, trying to figure out how to move forward, how to make it work, how to find motivation to keep going.
Thank you for watching YouTube tutorials, scheduling Zoom session after session, learning totally new technology and means of communication. You didn’t sign up for eight weeks of mandatory professional development, but you’re doing it anyway. Thank you.
Secondly, we apologize.
We are sorry for the bad attitudes we are tempted to have toward you. As we struggle through the challenges and confusion, we long for someone to blame. Anger is sometimes an easier emotion to feel than sadness, and you are an easy target for it. We’re sorry — this is hardly ever fair.
We apologize for our expectations that you should have all of this figured out already. Deep down, we know it is unreasonable for us to think you will be able to seamlessly transition to online instruction with no hiccups, just as it is unreasonable for us to transition to this new normal effortlessly.
Finally, we ask that you keep working with us.
We know that you must be tempted to get annoyed with us, and we know that sometimes, we bring that on ourselves. Other times, it is just the circumstances. Many of you have already been gracious and willing to work with us through the technical difficulties. You’ve extended deadlines, been patient with bad internet connections, and asked for our input. Thank you for this, and please continue to show us this kindness.
If you are one of the teachers who begins each virtual class with asking how we are handling everything, please don’t stop. The answer to “How are you?” changes honestly from day to day, sometimes from hour to hour. Some of you respond to our deadline extension emails asking if everything is OK. Are we safe? Are we healthy? Those questions mean everything to us. Keep asking them — or, if you haven’t begun, please start. It’s never too late.
Yes, we feel distant from you after being used to seeing you every day in person. It’s hard; it’s sad. However, at the same time, professors and students have never been more connected than we are now. Never before have our teachers been learning so much at the same time we are. Never before have we all been feeling so many similar emotions, fears and uncertainties.
We are in a new type of community now, and there’s something hopeful about that.
We hope to see you in person sometime soon. Until then, we’ll see you onscreen and in the inbox. We’re all learning to swim right now, and sometimes it feels like we’re drowning. But we know almost every single one of you is there for us in these rough waters. For that, we are grateful.