Teaching (& flipping) from Quarantine

I can’t go to work for one to three weeks. My mind repeats, one to three weeks.

Shell shocked. I’m only 39.

I have brand new students, shiny and cool like a brand new car.

One to three weeks?! Now, the panic comes.

She continues speaking about stress being a cause…I was planning to go over Diigo & Glogs so my freshmen can do the Safety Poster project, now that’s not happening; I was going to go over how to set up the lab notebook with Chemistry because of the lab I had planned, which won’t happen now; I was going to start homeostasis in Anatomy with a case study as the introduction, so that’s a no go…what sub will I get (subs are like Russian Roulette, literally, you hope your survive)…I can’t have labs and ‘messy’ projects with a sub…what am I going to do?!

Finally, she asks what I do; I teach. Briskly, she says, they’ll cope without me.

And, the cause of this exclusion: Shingles.

According to the CDC, only half of the 1 in 3 people that develop cases of shingles are over 60. According to Medscape, the entire adult population has “latent [Zoster virus] and is therefore at risk of developing shingles.” And, as it is the same virus responsible for chicken pox, “for reasons that are not fully known, the virus can reactivate years later, causing shingles.” Though transmission is through touch, and less likely so long as you keep the rash covered, it is a danger to pregnant women, those who’ve never had the chicken pox or the vaccine, and immunocompromised individuals.

I’m still stuck, repeating that 1 and 3 with a week, panicked.

Thanks to my mom, who in the middle of my emotional meltdown, reminds me, I just have to get through Friday…I’ll have the weekend to strategize for the following week. One day at a time is all I need to focus upon.

And, thanks to Brian Bennett (@bennettscience), Steven Hecht (@profmicro), and Adam Taylor (@2footgiraffe) all willing to share some advice, reminders, and ideas for how to cope with my forced confinement via Twitter.

Reminders about the possibility of the flip: if it’s good for students when they miss, I can use it when I’m absent. So, I’ll post a couple more videos; post what I intended to do in class (like going over how to set-up the lab notebook and a quick guide for getting going on the glog). Using PhET labs…kind of an ‘oh yeah’ moment as I already have a couple embedded on the class website. And, then there’s Skype. I can skype into class, probably at the beginning, field some questions, and let them get busy. Since my students also have to have Twitter accounts, they can participate in Mr. Taylor’s genetically modified foods chat with his students and scientists they follow.

Amazing how cooler heads can prevail. And, how I am able to rely upon the kindness of strangers (use appropriate southern drawl there) to help me out of a jam that seemed impossible.

At least now, my one and three with a week, do not seem as daunting. So, I’ll down another antiviral pill, take a Tylenol, and face tomorrow with less stress, more hope and lots to do.

[One last thanks to Steven Hecht whose idea it was to write this up]

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