Zoomed Out Teaching

A quick internet search for “zoomed out teaching” brought us an unexpected moment of peace, an uncommon occurrence in our daily lives. For the first time in a year, there were words for what we were feeling and describing in our weekly meetings. We were feeling “mental fatigue from overuse of zoom, video conferencing turned digital classroom, drained of energy, unable to cope with to do lists, persistent fatigue, burnout…” Words that brought realization and comfort to each of us, that maybe we are not alone.

As educators, we thrive on human connection

there is nothing better than a lively class debate or seeing an ah-hah moment in a student. Yet, where once we engaged in invigorating classroom discussions and warm smiles, we have digital classrooms that zoom out, making everything seem “smaller and farther away.” No longer do we have class time that reenergizes us, spontaneous hallway debates with our colleagues, or great ideas that spur us from informal conversations that remind us of why we love to teach. Instead, by the time we hit the end-meeting-for-all button at the end of the day, we are faced with utter exhaustion, self-consciousness, and doubt.

Our workloads have doubled, as we are zoomed out teaching,

with no additional time for completion, most of our days are now spent watching ourselves being watched. Being self-conscious is exhausting! Our intermittent dialogue that says “ I am normally a very smart person; I swear, my brain works better than this “ only contributes to uncertainty in a time where fear is around every corner.

Will I have my job next year? What will my evaluations say? Did I do a good job today? How can I possibly teach students all this material when they and I are all so tired? Yet, we have no choice but to carry on, to wake up, rinse and repeat not knowing what the future holds. Not knowing if education will ever resemble what once filled our hearts and gave us purpose.

In our next blog, we explore how we are trying to cope with teaching when zoomed out.

Written by higher education educators

Christian Scannell, PhD,  assistant professor of psychology | Assumption College | 860-559-8366

Carmen N. Veloria, EdD,  associate professor and chair of Education Studies | Suffolk University | 617-573-8269

Debra A. Harkins, PhD, professor of psychology and education | clinical psychologist | executive coach and consultant | Leading Change Associates  | 617-895-6948

Check out our other blogs on teaching during COVID19 pandemic here

Comments (3)

  • I am a counselor and I definitely seen the toll this pandemic had in so many educators. I strive to be a support as much as possible.

    • It’s a challenge as we all (counselors, educators and clients) are dealing with trauma at the same time, hope you’re able to engage in self-care as you help so many others.

  • Christian Scannell

    Hi Rachel,
    That is wonderful that you are supporting educators during this time. They are definitely the front line workers in our education settings. Self-care is so important during this time and often the one thing that we let go first when we are facing so much demand.

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