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Pandemic Rebirth

By Huma Saleem

**dedicated to the students in English IA, sections 206 and 214**

"... How can you see into my eyes, like open doors Leading

you down into my core

Where I've become so numb Without

a soul

My spirit's sleeping somewhere cold

Until you find it there and lead it back home

... Wake me up inside (save me)

Call my name and save me from the dark (wake me up) Bid

my blood to run (I can't wake up)

Before I come undone (save me)

Save me from the nothing I've become"

--from Evanescences song, "Bring Me to Life"

The brave learners in 206 and 214 were

the ones who resuscitated me.

In 2020, I had become a robot teacher,

teaching on a computer.

Escaping my baby, I "taught" in a closet coffin,

needing an income as the economy gasped.

My online courses were band aids,

barely holding the makeshift content inside.

Daily, bits of my soul were whisked

away into a black, online chasm.

Then, there was nothing left in me but the

deafening, silent panic of the pandemic.

On January 31, 2022, the zombie finally left the coffin;

standing in a real classroom, I started thawing with tears.

Then, I saw the twinkling of human eyes.

I felt masked humans empathizing with me.

I heard voices, and my own dormant voice ended

the piercing, quiet snowstorm.

206 and 104, it was you who saved me

"from the nothing" I had become.

Don't teachers rescue their students?

How did the students rescue their teacher?

As I bow down to my 206 and 214 saviors, I

humbly thank them for my reawakening.

And, online students, I am taking time off soon, so

I can learn how to rip off the band aid.

Online students, when I return to online teaching

in Fall 2023, the robot teacher will morph into someone real.

The band aid will be a tattooed collage -

a promise that your learning will be humanistic.

You should not lack the same golden, spark that

206 and 214 have ignited.

Now, nothing is the same. Everything

must be refreshed and reinvented.

Attention: all of my students -


Future courses, online and in-person, will not be perfect.

But, they will be warmer and brighter than ever before...


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