We are nearly through seven (out of eleven) weeks of the Fall quarter at DePaul in the first term since the pandemic started and shut nearly everything down. I’ve written about all the things I missed during the pandemic, and I’m thrilled to be back teaching in person. Yes, October is still my busiest month, and there have been too many 12-hour teaching days. But overall being able to interact in person with my students and colleagues makes all of the annoyances worthwhile.

What I’ve discovered though is that the pandemic shook up my work routine enough that I’ve developed a few new habits:

  • Most of my advising hours are scheduled remotely, using Zoom. I have about an hour that can be in person on my teaching days, but the other two hours per week are on a day that I work from home. As it turns out, students prefer Zoom meetings over in-person meetings. Even on my teaching days, all of my advising appointments have been virtual. And I love being able to spread out my work over more days, even if it hasn’t reduced the length of my teaching days in October.
  • Zoom-enabled classrooms have allowed more participation from sick students in my in-person class. I’m not sure that the experience they’re getting is as good as what I delivered when the entire class was on Zoom, and it’s certainly not as good of an experience as the in-person students are getting. But they use it and participate, and I think we all benefit from the flexibility of it.
  • I provide test cases in my code templates during in-person exams. During the pandemic students had access to the PDF with the test cases, and they often copied and pasted the text when developing their code. Now that the PDF is a hard-copy in front of them, I didn’t want them wasting time retyping the test cases. Honestly, I can’t believe I didn’t think of this sooner, but when you’re used to a certain way of doing things it can be hard to break out of that thinking.
  • Although it’s not really a new habit of mine, I’m also delighted that committee and faculty meetings are entirely virtual now. I have much more productive Fridays as a result, and I hope that this change lasts indefinitely.

I’ll have to see if any more habits change as a result of my new perspective. I’m grateful that some good things were able to come out of the awful that is the pandemic.