Shannan’s Shenanigans: The faces behind the masks

design: Brooke Farren

permission to print photos: Shannan Johnson

Well, I officially made it like two or three issues of the Courier before talking about COVID-19, but hey, now that we are like 11 months in, here we go.

More specifically, let’s talk about the wonders of being taught during a pandemic. It’s truly a magical experience, filled with so much joy and wonder (insert sarcastic voice here). Simply nothing warms me up more than procrastinating with an assignment until the last 30 minutes, so I can turn it in at 11:58:30pm.

No but seriously, hybrid is fine with the ability to sleep in more days per week. I will say though, class awkwardness has gone up exponentially. It’s like the pandemic just put everyone on temporary mute and slowly returned the volume back in the classroom. However, it must be said that awkward silence that many experienced coming back to school showed that Miss. Rona (COVID-19) really did a number on everyone.

I’m not quite sure what it was about Miss Rona that caused so much awkwardness. Maybe it’s the masks and the clear screens that act as barriers to natural communication. Maybe it’s the class and teachers struggling to create class chemistry if that’s even a thing.

I’m not sure if “class chemistry” has an actual name or is an actual science thing, but what it means is that each class has a specific vibe. The vibe or rather the connection in that class is usually created by the teacher and all (or just some) students. And maybe because of the mask and literal barriers in the classroom, the creation of this class chemistry exponentially slowed down.

I remember someone said in the beginning of the year, “Every day is kind of like the first day of school. We all stare awkwardly at each other while the teacher tries to get some sort of class participation.” To that, I agree that it was like the first day without the excitement… just awkward.

Besides the awkwardness, there was one thing that brought me excitement, and it is teachers when they drink water. Why does this bring me joy? Because they reveal their actual face and their noses and chins; they just look so weird and cool because they are not what I imagined.

In my head, I gave them all enormous noses and wrinkle less faces. But after seeing glimpses of them without their masks, I can confirm that they are not wrinkle free (no tea, no shade though).

Miss Rona caused a lot of necessary evils with the masks, clear screens and the hybrid schedule. However, the virus taught some very important lessons. It showed how faces are so important to human connection, and not seeing facial expressions fully can cause awkwardness. And most importantly, Miss Rona taught me that my teachers do not look like what they do in my imagination and in fact have proportional facial features with wrinkles.