A few things you are guaranteed to experience during any class I teach on Zoom:
- Hearing me say “Ok, I’m going to share my screen now” approximately 12,000 times.
Surely I’m not alone in thinking that pets–more specifically, cats–are the best thing about Zoom school. Only one of my six has never made a Zoom appearance. Four of them are daily visitors to the Zoom classroom, swirling in front of the screen as I’m trying to teach, pulling my headphones out of my ears, displaying their bottoms for all to see as they hop into my lap. Lifting a cat out of the way so that I can see my own slides has become a frequent Zoom teaching move.
I think my cats find it a bit pathetic how I sit all day long alone in a room talking to myself. They come over frequently to check on me. They curl up in my lap to offer some comfort.
It’s welcome companionship. I am thankful that our school culture de-emphasizes cameras, but it does sometimes feel a little lonely. A purring lap of cat can’t help but feel encouraging. And petting them gives me something tangible to do during those extra long Zoom wait times.
Of course, because they are cats, there is also an annoyance factor. Toast and Chipotle are wire chewers, and I have to pry their jaws open several times a day to rescue my headphones or my ring light wires. Smudge sheds, covering my keyboard with fine black hairs that waft onto my face and get stuck in my lipstick. Zorro visits the Zoom just to steal pens, chew on my writer’s notebook, and knock books off my desk. Even on Zoom, he’s a lot of kitty.
Still, cats on Zoom are what I will miss most when we return to the building and resume teaching in person.