May 10, 2021

Teaching in a Pandemic: The Good, the Surreal, and the Challenges of Teaching Sociology Online

Colby King author photoTodd SchoepflinBy Colby King and Todd Schoepflin

In this podcast, Colby King and Todd Schoepflin share some of their experiences teaching this year. One example that stands out to Todd is the experience of teaching at home at the same time his kids had remote music and gym lessons. Home and work were blended in new ways. Instead of commuting from work and sitting in traffic, he could spend that time preparing dinner. Colby explains the consistent feeling of role conflict (“Am I a parent or professor?”) and feeling like he wasn’t thriving in either role. He also points to a valuable resource in his wife’s parents, who were able to help with childcare.

They characterize their approach to their students as more flexible than usual when it comes to deadlines for assignments.  Both of them aimed to be as compassionate as possible, and cite Peter Kaufman as an influence in this decision. Neither Colby nor Todd required students to show themselves on camera during class. They talk about how this choice impacted their teaching and their approaches for engaging students.

We hope this podcast will stimulate discussion about the variety of experiences we’ve had as teachers and students during the pandemic.

Listen to the podcast here:

Download Pandemic Teaching Podcast

Links to related reading:

Peter Kaufman, The Compassionate Sociologist

William Ellis, It’s Compassion, Not Capitulation, to Ask Less of Students Amid Disruption

Matt Read, Should Showing Faces Be Mandatory?

Margaret Finders and Joaquin Muñoz, Cameras On: Surveillance in the Time of COVID-19

Jillian Kramer, The Virus Moved Female Faculty to the Brink. Will Universities Help?

Jennifer Davis, University survey shows how COVID-19 pandemic is hampering career progress for women and racialized faculty


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