Some Things Won’t Change
Ready for a scorching hot take?
There’s a lot that we don’t know right now. Nobody knows how long this pandemic will last, when society will re-open, whether there will be a second wave, when a vaccine will come, if therapeutic treatments will come sooner, or what the lasting economic effects will be.
There’s only one certainty in all of this: online classes are the absolute worst.
I don’t mean to disparage anyone’s efforts, because nobody was prepared for this and I truly believe everyone is doing their best. I’m sure educators hate this every bit as much as students do. It’s an unavoidable inconvenience. But everyone I’ve talked to, at every level of the education system, seems to agree that Zoom classes are the dumbest, most inefﬁcient thing to have emerged since Emeril Lagasse’s NBC sitcom.
Focus is divided, lagging connections make discussion impossible, and everyone is just trying to kill time so they can say they had two hours of classes. To sit in an online class is to feel your precious life on Earth being wasted, sometimes to feel your IQ slipping away one point at a time. And those are on good days. It just doesn’t work.
I don’t say this to complain or vent, but to demonstrate that I don’t think everything in our world will change after this. There are occasions when people can work from home or watch lectures online, but the reality is that you can’t replicate face-to-face collaboration. Plenty of pundits predicted that coronavirus would cause a technical revolution, that once we saw how easy it was to do things remotely, we’d never go back. That makes perfect sense, save for the fact that it isn’t easy to do any of this stuff remotely. We’re all doing our best, and I’m incredibly proud of my country for adapting as well as we have. But here’s hoping this makes us more appreciative of the ways of life we took for granted. Some things may change forever after this, but I promise some traditions will come roaring back. There’s just no replacement for classrooms.