Teaching Dilemma

As much as I hate recognizing that anybody but me has a point, my colleagues brought up something important I hadn’t considered.

Teaching languages in a mask is not viable. Students already struggle with understanding what we say. When they can’t see our lips move, the sound is muffled, and you have to keep six-feet between you, how are they going to understand?

We use the communicative method of teaching languages, which means we teach through speaking the language. There’s almost no English spoken in the classroom above the 101 language.

But in the English literature classes it’s not much better either. These classes are about the beauty of the language, and how can you appreciate the beauty when you are mumbling through a mask?

God knows I don’t want to teach remotely again. But the kind of in-person teaching we are allowed to do is even worse.

12 thoughts on “Teaching Dilemma”

    1. People here are also considering face shields. They are definitely better for teaching and they are more effective at blocking respiratory droplets than the cloth face masks.

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    2. Face shields are quite popular in Israel, and many teachers use them.

      Teaching in a mask is nearly impossible and bad for the wearer’s health, I am sure.

      Used face shields myself and it was comfortable. Of course, there are differences between face shields and some are easier to wear than others.

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  1. As much as I hate recognizing that anybody but me has a point, my colleagues brought up something important I hadn’t considered.

    Teaching languages in a mask is not viable. Students already struggle with understanding what we say. When they can’t see our lips move, the sound is muffled, and you have to keep six-feet between you, how are they going to understand?

    It took you until now to figure this out and you teach languages for a living!?

    You can either use face shields or masks with the clear inset in the middle that audiologists use.

    This is sold to dentists: Safe N’Clear

    Stories abound of people making their own such masks :Brooklyn woman makes transparent masks to help the hard-of-hearing community lip-read

    I suspect they’ll be useful but also extremely hot on the face.

    The face shields I have not worn.

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    1. “It took you until now to figure this out and you teach languages for a living!?”

      I don’t like teaching languages and only do it because I’m forced to. So I don’t like to think about it much.

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  2. We will be having undergrads on campus in the fall and it looks like I have to teach one of the two large-enrollment courses in my field because the two men previously scheduled to teach are too old and too immunpcompromised. (It’s so cool to throw a woman in her forties with three kids in the men’s place!) But we have to have undergrads on campus, or else unrecoverable budged shortfalls.

    I have no idea how I will teach. Apparently, they’re limiting the number of students in classrooms to enforce social distancing. I generally teach on the white board with a lot of loud talking, gesticulating, and moving around. I cannot do that in a mask. I also have no idea how we’re gonna administer in-person exams. I guess everyone in masks while taking exams? Me wearing gloves as I distribute the exams? I can’t possibly give the graded exams back while both protecting student privacy (each exam returned into student’s hand) and ensuring social distancing (staying away from student), unless we start delivering exams by drones. I might have to do something where each graded exam is scanned and uploaded, so the students can look at them that way.

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    1. Gosh, I haven’t considered what to do with handouts and printed tests. Fuck me. I really can’t make a decision here.

      Does anybody have any advice? Teach in person or through Zoom?

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  3. I intend to use a face shield, not a mask. That’s not a problem. Exams, papers, etc. can be done/submitted electronically. What I’m more concerned about is small group discussion, projects with partners, etc., which I was going to have a lot of. If people can’t get close together they’ll have to shout, and can’t look at the same screen together or same book or piece of paper, etc.

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    1. So you are going back to f2f teaching?

      I can’t make up my mind. It’s getting into a neurotic type thing where I change my mind 10 times a day. I honestly don’t know what’s better.

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      1. When asked about preferences, it was what I said. And I do prefer it. I just don’t know what the circumstances will be. We’ve been out of quarantine longer than you, I mean, I went to my first restaurant weeks ago now, the gym has been open almost since then, and today they even had the steam room and whirlpool going! So we may not have to have as much weirdness. I’m not sure. Best Buy and some places like that are having you shop by appointment still

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