Meet the new virtual teacher (Henry writes)

Well, it’s a bit early, but I am well-prepared. I might as well sign on.

[opening laptop]

[waiting]

[logging into Google Classroom]

Now, where is that video link? — aha.

[click]

Microphone on, camera on—why, there I am!

Excellent.

Let Me just split My screen [click, click]… pull this window over…

There. Nothing to do now but wai—What’s this? Someone signing on?

Oh! Hello, Principal.

Yes, but of course. You are most welcome. It is My great pleasure. I’ve been quite looking forward to it since the interview…no, I cannot imagine so many teachers taking leave all at once. Tremendous strain, certainly, certainly. The rest of the week at least, you say? Possibly longer? Not to worry. I’ve updated all lessons and classwork activities. Eager to meet the students…what’s that? The dress code? Well, I borrowed this good blue shirt for the occasion…why, thank you. I do love blues. Calming. Shows up well on the screen, I think. A nuisance to button, if I may say… but you were saying—? The dress code is “professional on top” because…oh. I see. I beg your pardon. Let Me readjust…

No, thank you. I certainly appreciate your stopping by, Principal. A great day to you as well…

—Hello, Student! Good morning. You are early. No, no, your teacher is fine, just on a short, shall we say, vacation…

My, how you students are popping up like popcorn! Egads. You’re becoming exponentially tinier on My screen…

Welcome to class today, one and all. Let Me introduce Myself. I am Mr. Henry Rollins Haley. You may call Me Mr. Haley if you prefer, or HRH, which I prefer. I’ll be your substitute virtual teacher while your teacher… ahem….recuperates.

Let us begin by taking attendance.

—Pardon Me, but two of you do not appear to be on My roster. Are you in this class? …Then will you please sign off promptly and go to your own?… Yes, My understanding is that you will have a substitute there also. Someone by the name of ‘Ms. Fluffy,’ I believe. Make haste. What’s that?… My apologies. Let Me rephrase: Hurry on to your own class now. Enjoy your day.

Time for learning to commence! Today we will—wait, that rattling sound—who’s eating Spicy Nacho Doritos?…. How do I know? Of course it isn’t magic. You flatter Me. I happen to be possessed of superior hearing; every single bag of chips has its own distinctive sound, its own signature, if you will…a better question is: Who’s eating Spicy Nacho Doritos at 8:00 in the morning? Is it you, Student XYZ*, there with your camera off? Please turn it on at once… oh! You’re the parent. My apologies… the student is still waking up but will be here shortly? I see. Thank you for letting Me know. By all means, keep the camera off… please…

All right, then, we are ready to delve into our first, if I may say, most exciting activity on—students, I really must ask that you refrain from using the chat feature to have personal conversations unless I direct you to do so, or unless you have a question or comment for Me, of course. I am glad indeed that you’re so happy to see one another and that you are communicating in writing; it warms the very cockles of My heart, truly. I have so looked forward to getting to know each and every one of you, and there is no better way to begin than by this (if I may say) fabulous introductory activity I’ve designed! All right, without further ado—wait, why is everyone frozen on the screen? Hello? Hello? [tapping screen with toenail]. Can you hear Me? Students—?

What’s happeni—that spinning circle! No! Don’t tell Me…

Alas.

Dear Google Meet, just a bit of advice: Never state the obvious.

Nevertheless. I shall attempt reconnection.

[refreshes. No Internet access]

[reboots]

[waiting]

[waiting]

[drumming toenails, clickety, clickety, clickety]

I might as well head to the kitchen for a snack until the connection resumes. An energy bar, perhaps…or three or four…

—But I am watching, every single second…

Hello? Anyone there?

*******

Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for the Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge and for the vital mission of encouraging writers and writing.

Henry (HRH) dedicates this post to all the teachers out there, in honor of their Herculean efforts and extreme dedication…as well as to all the dogs who faithfully accompany their children in virtual learning, even if they do occasionally lick the screen—the dogs, that is. Children seldom lick the screen.

*Student XYZ: Name has been changed for obvious reasons.

20 thoughts on “Meet the new virtual teacher (Henry writes)

    • It’s a hard thing, the camera issue. And connectivity, and… lots of stuff. Gotta hand it to the dogs, who take it all with great aplomb! So glad you enjoyed. Writing it was cathartic, in channeling some frustration into fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      • On Friday In my last class of the day, could see and hear the kids but they couldn’t see or hear me! So many issues we’ve never had to deal with before. You just have to laugh some days

        Liked by 1 person

    • My son dressed Henry in the shirt (I never asked why) and sent these photos – turns out Henry quite enjoyed wearing it. The shots made me think of the “professional on top” requirement for teaching virtually … poor Henry has no bottoms! Hence the zooming in … plus, he looks so serious. I love that dog. He’s full of love himself. This was such fun to write, quite an outlet really, and I am so glad to know it made you laugh, Christine. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Fran, your sense of humor is delightful. I think Henry has a calling for not only posing for the camera but for opening a great post about the trials and tribulations of virtual classrooms. I guess he is learning about connectivity or lack of just like all of us are. Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First – I could not resist the photos when my son sent them of Henry wearing his shirt. Instantly I thought “virtual teacher.” It had to be written! Easier to laugh about my own frustrating issues (like connectivity) through Henry. Thank you, Carol, and I hope it brought a smile to your day!

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    • HRH is a truly devoted creature, no question! He takes his roles and himself quite seriously. Yes, teachers are true heroes. I stand in awe of so many colleagues in the field. Many thanks from HRH & me!

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  2. I am still smiling! I love this, absolute truth, and the dedication, “children seldom lick the screen” perfect! Though I’ll say those Dorito-in-the-a.m.-chomping kids do lick fingers then touch, so…sometimes I’m glad I’m virtual.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can see those Dorito-licked fingers right now :O :O :O – does us good to think of the advantages of virtual at the moment! So glad you enjoyed. Henry sends his thanks for reading. 🙂

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  3. This was so cute! I did picture HRH with a British accent. One very much like a certain Benedict Cumberbatch. To quote Anne Shirley, “We are kindred spirits,” in regards to HRH’s virtual teaching style and my own.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our dear HRH has such a dignified air about him, plus immense warmth and affection… he could have been a therapy dog, truly. -Cumberbatch! I am a fan! Benedict would have been a most excellent name! But then again it’s fun that Henry’s initials are HRH (my son named him after musician/poet Henry Rollins). I love the fact that you and HRH have the same virtual teaching style – I think he and you and Anne (and Gilbert, eventually!) would be fast friends for sure. -Oh my, I’ve just now recalled the faithful Dog Monday… HRH is just as devoted and perceptive. Thank you, Anna Maria!

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  4. Oh, how I needed a dose of HRH this week, as we contemplate yet another pivot with the arrival of more in-person students and a whole ‘nother schedule to create. Thankfully the internet issues seem to be at a minimum, though frustrating, to be sure. Please give HRH a good backscratch for us when you are able to be in his delightful presence.

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