Hello! My name is Joey Eisman, and I am a recent TC graduate from the Cognitive Science in Education Program in the Human Development Department. I am an experiential educator invested in identity and character development. Inspired by my work on five continents, I came to TC to learn how to ensure that my learners' cognitive, social, and emotional aspects are reflected in my work. At TC, I am also involved in Media Literacy and Creativity research. As a student, you may often find me in the library, chatting with my friends or reading!

The Digital File

This article is part of the TC Digital File, an ongoing series spotlighting the efforts of TC faculty members to adapt and enhance their teaching in a new era of remote learning.

If you are like me, you might be "Zoomed out" and tired of your social, professional, and personal life taking place on your computer screen. It was sometimes hard for me to give my full attention to my professors as they lectured over Zoom. Fortunately, I had some faculty who moved away from traditional passive lecturing and completely changed their teaching style by engaging us, the students! My statistics professor added questions, breakout sessions, and even changed our homework and exams to meet our needs during the pandemic. However, my success does not fall on my professors' adaptability. My attitudes and flexibility made all the difference! To help me overcome my "Zoom fatigue," I took what I learned from my Social and Emotional Learning coursework and came up with the following interventions:

  • Square Breathing: Look away from your screen and take one deep breath in for four seconds, then hold your breath for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds, and then hold one more time for four seconds. Continue this cycle until you feel a bit clearer.
  • Stay Hydrated: Sometimes, when we get lost, we fall tired. Get up from your seat and grab a cold drink of water. Make sure to refresh and take a walk! 
  • Eyes-Closed, Deep Breath: Ground your feet and close your eyes. Now take a deep breath in and then one deep breath out. As you breathe in and breathe out, say to yourself, "I am breathing in, I am breathing out." Continue to do so until you feel less frustrated.
  • Reframe Yourself: When we get stuck and frustrated by the learning process, we sometimes tell ourselves that we are "incapable" of doing something. This happens, and that is okay. When it does, we need to remind ourselves that we are smart, capable, and we are still learning. When you get stuck, tell yourself, "This situation may be new, but I can do this! I can succeed in my learning." 
  • Ask For Help: Sometimes, your professor is busy helping another student during the class session. So‚Ķask a peer for help! Or, my preferred option, when available, is to attend e-office hours. This is a great way to get individual attention, get your questions answered, and build collegial relationships with your faculty.

For me, these made all the difference. I felt prepared and re-energized to pay attention, do my homework, participate in research, and even write my thesis. Some of my favorite aspects of my TC experience were the individual attention I received from faculty and the meaningful discourse that occurred in my more intimate courses. Though the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted those opportunities, I was still able to connect with my professors and communicate directly with my peers, all from the safety of my apartment. 

[Read a story about how TC moved at warp speed to take its courses online. Now the College is redefining virtual instruction.]