Members in the Media
From: Business Insider

I Had to Teach My NYU Psych Class to 360 Students From a Cell Phone While Trapped In an Elevator With My Kids. It Went Surprisingly Well.

On September 23, I had to teach my afternoon Introduction to Psychology class today to over 300 students from my cell phone while I was trapped in my apartment building elevator with my two young kids. Even by the standards of 2020, this has to go down as the most stressful — and surreal — teaching experience of my life.

I’m currently teaching a huge Intro to Psychology class this fall. But given the risks of the pandemic as well as public health guidelines, I was forced to teach the class virtually. For whatever reason, the class was massively over-enrolled, with over 360 students from around the world joining me every few days to learn about the science of the mind. 

Moving such a massive course online has been a challenge. But others have it worse, and the students are smart and engaged, so the class has truly been a blast to teach. At least, it was a blast until this week.

The first problem is that the local schools in New York are closed, and I have limited child care.

I have to get my kids from the local daycare at 3 p.m. and race back to my apartment by 3:30 p.m. to teach the class. My 10-year-old son loves to crash my course and share his thoughts on the brain and perceptual illusions, but the students find it funny so I don’t mind.

This past Wednesday, I set up my computer, walked through the city to pick up my kids, and then we arrived back at my apartment building at 3:20 p.m. We hopped in the elevator, and I breathed a sigh of relief that I was going to make it to my class on time. Class was scheduled to start in 10 minutes.

The elevator closed and started moving up. Then it quickly lurched to a halt and started dropping. I got that feeling in my stomach that happens when you’re in a roller coaster and it starts falling. I realize we are suddenly trapped on the 3rd floor.

But I used the call button in the elevator to contact the staff. They promised to contact a repairman from the elevator company to help us escape. OK, no need to panic. 

I started texting people to figure out what to do. My 8-year-old daughter started getting scared, which led my son to tease her about overreacting. He’s normally a cool cucumber in any situation. But this led her to start crying.

Things were melting down pretty good at that point. But we rallied and calmed down. I gave them a hug. Things would be alright.

It dawned on me that my students would be worried if I didn’t show up for class.

But my internet reception was horrible (you know when it only has one bar of reception), and I wasn’t high enough to access my WiFi either. 

After fumbling with my iPhone, I managed to login into my NYU Classes website to contact my students. Thankfully, I managed to login and send out an email announcement to the class by 3:28 p.m.

The subject line was: “Trapped in my elevator, will start class as soon as I’m rescued.”

Read the whole story: Business Insider

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