I haven't been blogging, but I've spent plenty of time online. My classes are on Blackboard. I have students upload all their work, minus a few homework assignments or physical projects that need all 5 senses to evaluate. I thought it would make life easier for all, and there is no denying the perks. I don't lose grades, assignments or any documentation. My teaching is fairly transparent, so if people want to know what is going on, the information is available. It also saves me from diving through a hoard of dead trees, wondering "what did I do with __________?" Perks.
But living online for a job is not how nature intended us to be. After a while, my eyes burn and I get that dull headache between the eye socket and the bridge of my nose. I lose track of life as I know it, because I think about grading, putting up assignments, adding more documents to each unit, finding cool videos, answering emails promptly and making everything hunky dory. I'm not even an online instructor as I see my students 3 times a week. Online teaching is the next brand of Coca Cola for universities, kind of like "computers taking over the cash" as Nas would put it. How long before that last vestige of human contact within the educational superstructure goes the way of the one-hit wonder?
I'm glad I teach yoga and go to my meditation group or else I might forget that I do have contact with people who don't give a hoot about educational technology. I remember that I'm living this life to better myself. Too many people live for their work. Without their careers, they don't know how to function as all control is off, and the messiness of human relationships out them as awkward and vulnerable, much like the rest of us. There was a time I lived for my work, but it was an escape hatch. I was scared to let anyone get to know me, and I didn't want to admit I was lonely. Now I just work very hard, but the boundaries are there, reminding me that I have a family, a few good friends and other things to do besides my job, my job, my job.
Perhaps that is the best thing about working online so much. Even when I want to go on, my body clenches up and screams at me to get the hell away from the screen to water my plants, play with my cats or close my eyes to think of England. Even the negative becomes positive if we can look at it with a clear perspective.
So I'm going to finish this blog, and go downstairs to watch reruns of Deep Space Nine with my son. I'll be back online in about 3 hours to grade some more or maybe not. It is spring and it's time I cultivate my garden, inside and out.
Much love to you all,