“Are you enthusiastic?”

Peter Facciola, Ph.D.
Communication Faculty, South Mountain Community College.

Peter Facciola calls himself an introvert. So he was surprised to discover that the isolation which comes with teaching in the COVID-19 era wasn’t sitting with him well.

Pete describes his initial isolation

Pete teaches a variety of Communication classes at South Mountain Community College. He’s comfortable with technology and loves trying out new tools. He recently began to consider launching COM 225: Public Speaking in an online format. So it wasn’t the practicality of moving his classes online that gave him pause, it was the brooding sense of the unfamiliar, the worry that his students might be fearful, and the unknown future they’re now working towards.

Everything seemed to change for Pete when he went to Costco early in the week of March 16th. He was surprised to see lines wrapped around the building, and people leaving with stuffed carts, products high into the air. When he went home, he knew he had to decide for himself how he was going to feel about the future.

Pete identifies his realization that everything changed

Pete started to think about the coming weeks in terms of opportunities. He’s finally going to be able to launch COM 225 online. He’ll have a chance to learn new tools for virtual and face to face classrooms. Most importantly, he is going to find new, better ways to connect with people — including his students.

Pete’s a perfectionist when it comes to video announcements to his classes. He likes to add music and artwork, and make each video look professional. On that day, he took a different approach. He picked up his phone and cut a quick selfie-video – just him talking to the people on the other side of the screen. He told them that he was enthusiastic about the future. Excited to see what would come and what they would learn together. He ended with a question, “Are you enthusiastic, too?” They responded in ways he’d never seen before. “The responses exploded.”

Pete describes student response to his approach

Pete’s not sure when he’ll feel a sense of normalcy. Maybe it will be when he sets up a permanent work space at home.

He wants to know how others are finding ways to feel more and more like teachers. He wants students to tell him what they’re worried about, or what they’re afraid of. He doesn’t want you to give up.

Listen to Pete’s full interview wherever you find your podcasts.

You can connect with Pete:
Email: dr.pete@maricopa.edu

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