Department of Theology Chair and Professor Daniel Paavola believes COVID-19 and related changes to education have provided an opportunity to engage with students on a more personal level.
Paavola is known for his early morning theology classes, including providing coffee, using show-and-tell items, and speaking in song lyrics to reinforce his course concepts.
He said there were several occasions last semester where Zoom classes created new opportunities to get to know his students. He was able to meet parents, siblings, and sometimes pets.
“Getting to see your homes, to see your lives, to see your families, there is a lot to be said for that. I shared my life, I did class in every nook, cranny, and corner of my home,” said Paavola. “ It gives people of goodwill a chance to show their good nature in ways we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.”
Students were challenged to push themselves to engage with the teacher because they were no longer in-person. Paavola was thankful for this experience, because he was able to interact on an individual basis with students that reached out to him.
Paavola had students log on to Zoom during his office hours to sit and chat with him. He was impressed by the goodwill of Concordia’s students.
He thinks the students have reacted with flexibility and a positive attitude to the changes due to COVID-19.
Paavola also has adapted to the changes COVID-19 brought, including not providing coffee, not passing around show-and-tell items, and spacing students apart to abide by social distancing rules.
“Bruce Springsteen says at a live concert, ‘The older you get, the more it means.’ I’ll agree with Springsteen, the older you get, the more it means, the more I cherish the chance to be with students,” said Paavola. “It killed me to not be together in spring. Even now with the face masks, at least we are in the same room with each other.”
Written By Nora Rudzinski
Categories: Faculty and Staff