It was about a month ago when my school in Bangkok made the call to remain on-line for the rest of the year. They debated whether this was what they were going to do or not for a long time even though most of us already knew that this was going to happen. The number of cases in the country were on the rise, and things were slowly closing up. We could not understand why the government would close up all of these businesses but then turn around and demand that the school open up again. Even if they did open up again it would only be for the last week, and what would we be able to accomplish during that last week of school. It was pretty obvious that staying on-line for the rest of the year was inevitable.
But looking at it from the school’s perspective, I can see why they held on so long to not telling anybody that this was going to happen. As soon as they made the announcement, teachers in all three levels changed their flights to earlier, and every weekend, there was another batch of friends we were saying goodbye to as they made their way back to America. We even pushed up our return date up by eleven days. We would have made it earlier, but there was still a lot of little things we needed to take care of before we could leave, and it caused us to stick around longer than usual. The school was going to have a hard time making sure that everybody did the work that they needed to do when they now worked in various nooks and crannies all over the planet. And there was the added disadvantage of some teachers missing a day or two from school as they made their long commute back to their home countries.
Despite these concerns, I think, from my perspective, there was a minimal impact to the everyday business of the school as the teacher slowly filtered out of the country. All of this was because of Zoom. Classes could still take place the way they normally had for the last couple of months because teachers could log on from anywhere in the world and teach from there. It allowed for these people to get to places where they have not been for a couple of years and see loved ones again while still doing their work.
I am glad for it. My departure from Bangkok was welcomed and I have loved being back in the United States. Not only have I gotten vaccinated, but I have been able to reconnect with loved ones. I am also lucky to have landed on the west coast so the time difference is not ridiculous and it is helping me get over jet lag. Tonight will be the first night of teaching online, and it is really more about finishing up the school year rather than teaching. Thank you Zoom for making this opportunity possible. Not that I think teaching on-line is a good thing, but it is the best option for the way the world is right now. I will take it, and the extra time I have in America this summer. Every moment back with here is precious, and I now realize how much I missed it now that I am back.
Now all I have to do is just one more week of work and then I can really unwind for a well deserved break. For all of those teachers who had to teach their lessons over Zoom this year, I hope you enjoy your break, and next year, you can return to the better way of teaching. I know it might have pushed your sanity a little bit, but at least because of Zoom, life has been able to go on, and we should be thankful for that small benefit.