I hope my students trust me, when I say that I will somehow get them through the course. I think they do. Today and tomorrow’s sessions are entirely optional: if they have time and space in their heads, they can read some material, show up and we can chat about this. For Japanese history I provided materials on the Dutch in Japan, and the effect on the intellectual world. (Nowhere near as much as this topics deserves, but pandemic times call for pandemic measures). A few turned up, a couple asked some questions. We finished on the early side. In the afternoon, for Magical Creatures, one student showed up, asked a few questions about the Pressbooks project and then decided to leave. He did not have time to prepare any of the readings (Story of the stone or Dream of the Red Chamber), and I am a bit sad about not teaching it this year but I also feel it’s ok if we can’t give it the attention it deserves.
But I’m actually proud of that: they had asked “what do you mean by optional?”, and I explained it: if you want to work on your final project or otherwise don’t want to engage with new course material, you don’t have to. If you’re bored at home and crave new stuff, this is for you. So they all trusted me enough that I won’t hold it against them if they don’t show up. And I hope that some day, they will remember this and wonder why I thought this material so good I had to at least try and offer it, and then maybe, one or two get to explore it later. I trust some of them will. And that’s good enough for me this semester.
Do you trust your students? And do they trust you? And will you still trust them after the pandemic recedes?