The musings of an academic geek yogi
In the whirlwind of the last 12 days of captivity and crisis teaching I could not recall if I shared the iCloud recordings of all my class session. As I sorted through each class & confirmed that each hyperlink found its intended recipient I noticed a disturbing trend that appeared in every single video: I had worn the same flannel shirt. I will be the first to admit that over the last few weeks I quickly digressed from jeans, to yoga pants and shift dresses. I love to work and teach in the early morning and after I make my morning tea, prop open the door for my pup & my eyes adjust to the blinding computer light I vaguely recall feeling a chill and reaching for something to cover my arms.
This is the only flannel shirt I own and I bought it a few months ago for a weekend backpacking trek planned for myself and my daughter this Spring. Unfortunately, like her choir trip to Disneyland & her uncle’s wedding, our backpacking trip has been postponed to an undetermined date. Somehow this one article of clothing triumphed and unlike its compatriots intended for Easter Sunday and upcoming school performance days that remain dangling on the felt hangers where they were so carefully placed, it has escaped closet purgatory.
This shirt is soft like a second season blanket and structured for a female body. When I wear this shirt I feel like a person and not a shut-in that threw on a pancho (no offense if you have been teaching in a pancho, I am sure it is lovely). Without realizing, this large plaid print of deep burgundy and dark navy has become my armor during the Covid-19 teaching battle; it has helped me feel less exposed as I teach with all the excitement and fervor I can muster to students who often give me a half-hearted reception while still laying in prone positions in their beds. I had set a clear expectation that students must show their faces in our digital meetings but I did not specify that they must leave their beds, brush their teeth or enter the virtual world with the same dignity as a face-to-face classroom; as a woman who has worn the same shirt for several weeks am I remiss to make such a request? This conundrum seems to exemplify the delicate dance of crisis teaching, of wanting to challenge my students and myself to be our best but realizing the best for today might just be showing up at all.
After watching morning mass from bed I decided to write this post on a lazy Sunday found an unexpected plea in my inbox from a Nursing professor at Mt Saint Antonio. She had been trying to plan a ConferZoom session in Canvas and accidently set-up the meeting for 1am instead of 1pm and she could not figure out how to fix it. She stumbled on to an instructional video I posted on YouTube and decided to reach out. At the end of her email she posted her cell number so I gave her a call, we had a great chat & I helped her fix her meeting. After our exchange I went to YouTube with a vague recollection of a tutorial I recorded in a rush before I departed for what I did not know then would be my last drive to Arvin this semester. The crowded white bloom of the almond trees and rows of bee boxes is so clear in my mind from that last drive. Recording that 5 minutes video was less clear & I decided to check YouTube and see what I wore for that video? The video now has more than 1k hits, more than anything I have every posted online, and it marks the first appearance of the now infamous flannel.
My shirt is a great uniform for that I recommend anyone wear while they: weep, grade, lecture, pet a dog, prepare meals, comfort kiddos that miss their friends, listen to falling rain, binge watch John Oliver/Tiger King/ Boss Baby, play board games, and record quick videos for YouTube.