Friday, October 24, 2014

Anniversaries: Hurricanes and Online Teaching

I have anniversaries on the brain.  If it was 2005, at this hour, I'd be up to watch the news.  For weeks, we'd been watching the progress of Hurricane Wilma.  We had just finished cleaning up from Hurricane Katrina, which hit Florida on its way to New Orleans.  We had a huge ficus tree in the back yard, and when it fell, it took up much of the back yard.  It didn't hit the house, but it did smash a shed to smithereens, along with fence line.

So we got that cleaned up and a new shed built, just in time for Hurricanes Rita and Wilma (the shed survived the tests!).  I have no memories of Rita, but Wilma was different.

I got up just before 5 a.m. and watched the news.  I knew that Wilma would come ashore on the west coast, so I assumed that it would lose power as it crossed the peninsula.  Our puny land mass didn't seem to affect it at all.  I watched the news, little imagining it would be the last time for days that we'd have power.

Some people say that Wilma was only a category 1, but I'd swear it was a 2.  When I saw all the damage, I wondered if it was a 3.  At any rate, it's sobering how much damage a strong 1 or a 2 can do.  Some parts of our county were out of power until Thanksgiving.

Let me think about a happier anniversary.  A week ago, more or less, I'd have been starting my first week of online teaching.  I didn't blog about the fact that I was teaching online until much later.  I wanted to make sure I could do it, and for a variety of reasons, mainly fear of failure, I didn't want many people at my full time job to know.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was delighted.  A year ago, I started a Word document.  I thought I might write a post later.

Here's what I wrote:

The students are so enthusiastic about being enrolled.  They write marvelous introductions of themselves.  They respond to my introduction of myself and ask questions (where did you get your Ph.D.?) and ask if I could post a picture of one of my quilts, which I do.

Here's my introduction:

My name is Kristin Berkey-Abbott.  I earned a Ph.D. in British Literature.  I became an English major because I love to read, and I became a college teacher because I wanted to discuss good writing with students and to help them become better writers and communicators.

When I'm not reading, still one of my favorite things to do in my spare time, I'm quilting, going to spin and boot camp class, and working on a variety of writing projects.  I look forward to the conversations we'll have here.

I remember being thrilled at their enthusiasm and at my own corresponding enthusiasm.  Happily, that thrill has not faded.  I've just started with 2 new online classes, and the students are brimming with hope and happiness to be there.  I am too. 

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