Transitions: My big U-turn

The first thought when TCC announced that we are transitioning to online instruction was “Wait, I didn’t even get to say a GOOD-BYE!” I couldn’t sleep that night. I looked up every article about the transition including suggestions from teachers in China.

My brain was at war with itself. One part of the brain says it will be fine while the other part is struggling to accept this dire situation. My brain felt like the busiest highway during rush hour, where every thought is right behind the other and rushing to get to its destination. Trust me, it hurts and hurts really bad. I was in a dilemma trying to figure out how I should prioritize emotions or thoughts.

Tears would roll down my face thinking about my students and their situations. The phone wouldn’t stop buzzing as emails and texts were pouring in. I knew the WHY but trust me, I did not know the HOW.

I took a long walk thinking about what would comfort my students during this unprecedented time. And the only thing that came to mind was to make a video and be as transparent as possible. Communication was the only way. I knew they are waiting and waiting for me to say or do something.

I made a video for my students saying they are my Number 1 Priority; their safety and their families are as important to me as mine. I opened up to them saying I don’t have a plan YET, but I promise to make this transition as smooth as possible. And requested them to work with me during these tough times.

The rate at which my emotional and mental strength grew from their reactions and responses were growing faster than the COVID-19. All of a sudden, I was stronger than I thought; everything took a big U-turn.

I knew it was show time. I did a lot of research and reading and came up with a plan.

My plan had only two items:

  1. ROTT (Rapid Online Transition Teaching)
  2. ROTL (Rapid Online Transition Learning)

The plan was to enjoy 1 so that 2 can be fun! In simple words enjoy my ROTT teaching so ROTT learning can be fun. Once the plan was in place, everything happened organically.

A good educator is one who turns any situation into teaching and learning. Seeing many of my colleagues overwhelmed with the transition, I volunteered to share my tech skills with them. Along with some other faculty members, I conducted training sessions and webinars. I was taking phone calls, conducting one-on one-sessions and answering emails. My TCC family needed me and I needed them. As a family, if we rise, we rise together and if we fall, we fall together.

Teaching is not a job, it’s a passion that can only be felt!

Bhavani Kola, a math instructor at TCC Southeast, spends her free time breaking up fights between my two sons (11 and 13) and fills any remaining time learning and exploring new educational technology.