We’re now two weeks into fall semester at my university, and so far, online teaching is going well. I think I’m pretty good at it, and I’m really enjoying the sense of camaraderie amongst the students in all 3 of my classes, just figuring out how to be good to each other in these strange times we’ve found ourselves in. Online teaching is also orders of magnitude more exhausting for me than teaching in person is (some of this is just due to unfamiliarity, but I do think that the cognitive demands of synchronous online teaching are beyond those of in-person teaching, period). But one thing that’s even easier when teaching online than when teaching in person is to sneak in a few rows on a knitting project while the students are in breakout rooms doing small-group discussion.
And that’s why I cast on, at the start of the semester, for a Musselburgh hat for M, in her beloved red color; I figured once I got past the increases at the start, I’d have smooth sailing ahead of me, just round and round in plain stockinette stitch. When my brain is overtired, that’s exactly what I need!
I’ve made good progress on the hat, and also on the Ravelston pullover; I’m nearly finished with the first sleeve!
I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to start the second one; the sleeve cap *does* demand quite a bit of attention, and so does…pretty much everything else in life right now. My daughter’s going to be doing school fully remotely, and that starts next week. Unfortunately, the message we got from her soon-to-be teacher contained…basically no information about what to expect, and also didn’t contain any of the links it purported to, and there’ve been no responses to the parents’ requests for a corrected email. I’m trying my hardest to maintain grace for the teacher, who is surely working under difficult circumstances just like I am, but I’m also panicking about what my daughter and her classmates’ experience is going to be like, if this is how it is starting. We don’t even know when the “meet the teacher” Zoom is on Tuesday…and it’s a holiday weekend, so we’re not likely to find anything out until Tuesday morning at the earliest. Or maybe we just won’t meet the teacher at all? Deep breaths.
I’m already really, really exhausted just from teaching my 3 classes online for 2 weeks, so I’m quite nervous about what it’s going to look like once I add “helping my daughter manage her remote learning” to the mix, especially if it’s going to be this disorganized. What’s it going to feel like when we’re truly in it? We’ll find out soon, I suppose.
Adding to all of this: my city has currently joined the ranks of cities in which the police department has effectively declared war on its citizens, this time in relation to protests over the death of Daniel Prude, a black man having a mental health crisis, back in March, at the hands of the police officers who had been called to help him. Yes, you read that right: back in MARCH. This was covered up and hidden until last week, when Prude’s family released video, and as a result, there have been protests each night in the city. Last night, as I was falling asleep, I thought I heard rumbling…and then I woke this morning to stories from my friends from First Unitarian Church, of being kettled, flash-banged, teargassed, and pepperballed by the RPD at last night’s protests. Timing suggests that the rumbles I was hearing were those flashbangs being deployed against the overwhelmingly peaceful protestors, including my friends, who thankfully all eventually made it home safely. A big part of me wants to be at the protests with my friends; I also know that while pepper spray and teargas are not safe for anyone, there is a whole extra layer of risk if you’re someone whose lungs are already damaged, like mine are. So I contribute with donations, and with spreading the word, because that’s what I can best do right now.
It doesn’t actually surprise me that the RPD is following the same script as police departments in other parts of the country, but it does strike me. It’s not like they’re unaware of what this looks like, it’s not like they don’t know we’re watching…so the fact that they brazenly attack overwhelmingly peaceful protestors suggests to me that the RPD believes it can behave with impunity. And given our current system…they have every reason to believe that. And that’s exactly why we need these protests.
One more knitting project update before I end this post, which is likely as jumbled as my mind currently feels. I’ve made it to the body portion of the Water Bearer cardigan!
This project is probably NOT the best one to knit while my mind is so scattered; I tried working on it during a recent faculty senate Zoom meeting and, well, let’s just say I ended up learning a lot about how to rip and reknit brioche. Slowly but surely, though, I’ve made it through the point where you join everything up at the underarms, and I think I’ve pretty well internalized the brioche pattern, too…so hopefully I’ll have fewer bumps along the way as I continue on this project.
So anyway, that’s where I am: dividing my time between three knitting projects depending on how overwhelmed my brain is, teaching 3 online classes and trying to support my students for whom this is all so new, trying to figure out what on earth my child’s learning is going to look like this year, and trying to figure out how I can best be of service during these difficult times in my city.