Who among us has not been altered by technology in the last few months? I know so very many people who only knew Zoom as "ZOOM, Z-double-O-M Box 354, Boston, Mass. 02134. Send it to Zoom". You're welcome, by the way, for putting that in your head. If you know it, you'll be singing it all day. Back to our regularly scheduled program. Technology platforms like Zoom have pushed people out of their comfort zones in whole new ways. I will share just a couple from my perspective, even though I have been using Zoom for years.
1. Student teacher supervision---I supervise student teachers in Tucson. During the pandemic, I have been able to get on Zoom to watch my student teacher teach on Zoom. Crazy, right? It's like those Russian nesting dolls or a hall of mirrors. But I love it! It has given me the chance to watch one amazing student teacher use skills in whole new ways, rather than teaching her traditional way (which, by the way, had already included tons of technology). She has said she wants to continue to use Zoom in the future to talk to parents or even talk to her students at home even after we go back to our brick and mortar schools.
2. Webinars to build relationships--I teach online master's level courses for students who want to become school leaders. In the past, my relationships have been limited to my online discussions with them, the occasional phone call to clarify an assignment, and maybe a video I have made to introduce myself to them. Now, I am using Zoom to have weekly webinars and book clubs with them to help them with their clinical internships. The true blessing? We are building a community of learners, and we all look forward to seeing each other. One course ended this past Wednesday, and I can honestly say I think it was my favorite online course I have ever taught, as we had truly formed bonds. They have promised to keep in touch with me and I will do the same with them! Without this pandemic, I'm not sure I would have MADE the time to do something like this. Do I get paid more to host them? Yes, in relationship dividends.
3. Church services---we are now calling ourselves the Christship Enterprise, as we are blazing new trails with technology. There are about 7 of us who meet at the church every Sunday morning to prepare for worship. Our priest does her regular thing (which is always to deliver an amazing sermon), Dave reads and carries the cross, Dale films the service, Eliott plays the organ, I broadcast our service to Zoom and to Facebook Live (and lead the hymns), and we are building technology savvy parishioners. Our evangelism has grown, as we have about 1/3 more participants in worship every Sunday than we had pre-pandemic. Pretty cool, right?
I am prepared. I am WATCHING for the blessings, now, instead of simply being surprised by the miracles that continue to occur.
I hope you are experiencing them, too!