First Class

First class went well, I think — small room, a dozen students, each of them able to have an empty chair on either side, which is…something? Not as much distancing as I’d like, but could be worse.

They said they could hear me fine without amplification, so that’s good — I ordered a headset thingie but it didn’t arrive before I left for teaching this morning.

We had a good discussion of Ben Rosenbaum’s _The Orange_, and whether Jews should be considered POC or not, and I also briefly reviewed RaceFail ’09 for them, so I think all in all, they’ve gotten a decent first day grounding for the semester’s work.

We also took a few minutes to get them all on Slack — I really strongly prefer it to Blackboard for interactions with class, and it worked very well for me and the students last year, so I’m going to be using it again this semester.

They’re anxious about possibly pivoting to remote — they said the last time it happened, they didn’t get any notice or much communication from the university. That was a time of total chaos, of course, so I hope UIC will do better by them this time around if it happens. But I’d already planned to hold Wednesday’s class on Zoom, just to troubleshoot any technical issues, make sure everyone is comfortable with the format — if we do pivot, I want to do so as smoothly as possible.

Teaching in a mask was just fine, but it *is* pretty warm out right now, so I was pretty sweaty by the time I got back to my office. Taking off the mask after I closed the door? Delicious — almost as good as removing your bra or work shoes at the end of the day. 🙂

I kind of want to redecorate my office — I did this over a decade ago, when I first started teaching here (eep, it’s been that long? I guess it has), and I’m bored with it now. I wonder if I can get away with putting up some removable peel-and-stick wallpaper? I bet I can…

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