Profs, it’s not you, it’s us

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On social media, many professors have shared their difficulties with getting students to engage with their course via Zoom. Many even wondered if the lack of participation was their fault; maybe they weren’t doing enough this late in the semester to keep their students engaged?

In fact, the opposite is true. As students, we recognize that our professors are just as energy depleted as we are and they are trying their very best. Of course, the stakes are different. Professors, for better or for worse, are expected to show up to every Zoom meeting prepared and energized. So when their students don’t reciprocate that energy, it can understandably feel very discouraging.

Even our favorite classes by our favorite professors take a toll on us. We just can’t give as much as we used to. We know that our professors generally know how exhausted we are, but we can’t help but feel compelled to write that it’s not you, it’s us. Or to get more specific, it’s the never-ending racial violence and deadly pandemic that have made us incapable to perform as we would any other time.

So if your students are hard to engage or if you feel upset at the rate your course is moving, don’t be hard on yourself. We are all very tired, very over this semester, but still appreciative of the efforts we see our professors put day in and day out, even when they may not be supported by those who have more influence than us.