My name is Todd Felts, I’m an assistant professor in the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.
I’m here at my home with my dog, Simon, who has not left my side in weeks. He’s there when I’m teaching classes; he’s there when I’m having Zoom conversations with my students and my colleagues. He’s not going to know what to do when we go back to work.
And I’ve been thinking a lot about what does it means to be at home and teach college and engage with students. There’s been a lot of challenges but there’s been a lot of incredible opportunities to really get to know my students.
It’s amazing what happens in an hour class when there are 15, 16 students sitting around having really meaningful conversations. The first week after spring break when we moved online were some of the most meaningful conversations that I’ve ever had with my students in more than 12 years of teaching at the University. We talked about life; we talked about of COVID-19, but we also talked about this tremendous opportunity for us as journalists to report stories. Stories that aren’t getting covered. Important stories about our lives.
And so one of the first assignments we embarked on was writing about students and their impacts of COVID-19. So one of the things I’ve learned is students really faced some challenges but that they also felt like they were bringing themselves to a new place in understanding journalism in a new way.
So my silver lining thought for today, is that in this time of COVID-19, this is a pivotal moment to learn to be flexible to open our minds and open our hearts to new opportunities and new ways to of reporting and new ways of telling stories.