Is it because the spaces never close?

Just coping, not quite fine

In a conversation with my students (who are also peers and colleagues) today we were talking about how we all struggle at the moment. What emerged from the conversation is that we all felt things should be easier this year. We have pivoted online, we know how everything works. And yet. And yet the workload seems relentless and everything seems so much more.

Little interlude for anyone who is under the miscomprehension that online teaching is less work. Side eye to pretty much all the sensationalist papers. It is so much more work, more time intensive, it is also just more intensive, full stop. For effective online teaching you have to amplify your voice, which costs more energy, more attention, more time … and it doesn’t stop. 

And at this point (it doesn’t stop) is where my profound insight—okay profound for me, it might be out there in the ether already—came in. Moving everything online has enabled us to do so much more, be involved in so much more. Which has contributed to more equity in participation and more opportunities.

But the spaces we are involved in the virtual classrooms, chat rooms, social media. These spaces never shut, never close. So they are a constant matter on our cognitive load. Even when going back to in location (I have lost track which term we are using now for teaching in a physical classroom with students attending live, in 3D) these spaces are now there to stay.

Even though I have notifications switched off after hours. Even though work apps are on a hidden screen I have to consciously go to. These open spaces, are live, will have interactions in them when I go back in. They are like a constant hum in the back of my mind.

I know not everyone feels like this. If you do, what mental image does help you to switch this off?

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