The Online Teacher:
a not so fictional biography of a truly unremarkable individual…
If you look into the archives of human history, you will find that the occupation of “online teacher“ is a relatively new addition to the vernacular. Yet I find myself in that very occupation, in the middle of a pandemic. Talk about alone! Suddenly and unexpectedly I find myself in large stretches of time absolutely alone. It feels like isolation to the space-station level extent. It is a sanity test!
I go grocery shopping. I go to the drug store. I get gas, and sometimes buy Smart-food. Love Smart-food. I go inside gas stations to buy Smart-food, so I guess I would die, even, for Smart-food. But I do not go to the gym, I do not go to the bar, I do not go to the coffee shop, I do not go to the movies, I do not meet other people out for a meal at a restaurant. You know the shtick. We are all living it.
My social life has been reduced to one video visit with my grandson on Saturday mornings, one Face time with my parents on Sundays, and a few skypes and phone calls per week with friends. Yes, phone calls! I prefer it after the week after week spent on screen with students.
Being an “online-teacher” means I am teaching three classes/sessions online through a public school district. 100% online. I am a middle-aged, single woman and and now my whole identity is swirled into an almost 100% online life. The only human beings that I see somedays are on a screen. It is insane but it is true! And I know I am not alone – there must be 100’s of thousands of us stuck inside a virtual work and social life – completely alone.
I get up every morning at 4:30 am – lift my weights – do some planks- and make coffee. Then I sit down with coffee and toast – delicious grain bread and jelly. Yum. Then I scroll through her list-serves . If you have never been on a list serve, man you got to start one. Here’s the description of the one from my area:
I can’t stand the WordPress formatting. I can’t believe I pay for this.mgauvin
Love the list-serve!!
We all reach out and feel the pulse of the community. More than once I have bought something good and I was glad to have off of the list serve. I don’t know if it is just local to my area – which is pretty rural, but everybody’s got to have them. People argue on the list serve – typically it is polite -of course, but it is totally a place to air differences. I love it. It is probably my number one daily routine.
Being alone is probably not a good thing for me right now. I have some stuff going for me, but I’m going through some challenges too. I blew out my knee and have spent the last year limping around. I am going to see an orthopedist in a couple of weeks. It isn’t the best time in my life, I’m not gonna lie, but all in all – I’m managing.
I have some good stuff going on – that grandson I mentioned. I’m lucky my parents are alive and healthy. Then I have started playing the ukulele, and have taught myself the C scale. I keep occupied keeping up the maintenance of my home. I do a lot of scraping and painting.
My life has literally been reduced to sleeping and working – and eating too sometimes. I drink a lot of smoothies and eat a lot of kale. Frozen burritos are my main staple, but I also love frozen pizza. American Flatbread tastes of fire and works for me. So it’s kale – smoothies – sardines . pizza and burritos. But mostly I spend my time sleeping. and reading books. I am easily sleeping 8-9 hours a night. On weekends I do yard work. I love to garden.
The good thing I have going for me is that I have basically given up alcohol. It took me till age 57 to do it, but I did it. I feel really confident about it. To the point that I don’t even want it in my apartment. Sure I might drink one or two beers once in a while while when I am with people, but even then I always wake up with such a dry mouth and in such a bad disposition that i just doesn’t seem worth it anymore. I often find myself pouring down the sink, like when someone leaves a six pack at my house.
Believing in multiple reincarnations, it felt like this was one burden I can lay off my shoulders in this lifetime, at least. I hope there will be more positive changes like that in my future too