This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.
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This interview with Lauren Davenport was recorded on September 20, 2021 via Zoom. Lauren is a public high school educator in New York City at a school that focuses on technology. At the time of this interview, Lauren was only one week into the new school year and wondered if this might be her last year of teaching. She is faced with the challenge of creating a new way to teach and connect with her students now that they are back in person, but with masks and social distancing, after her students spent a year and a half out of school and online. Lauren has bought a few microphones to project her voice through her mask, but students are still having a hard time hearing her and each other. She's learned how to read her students' reactions through their eyes. She's implemented cellphone breaks because they have become "safety blankets" for the students. Besides the physical limitations of trying to teach high school English to students in masks while socially distancing, she has seen changes in her students. Some don't remember how to be in school, rules like no profanities, and others don't realize that they are talking to themselves. Lauren asks, would virtual be better? She says that she doesn't know, but she has little hope for how this setup for learning can be effective for her students.
Alex Vara was born in San Francisco but raised just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Mill Valley, California. She is a graduate of Hampshire College and a dual MFA Creative Writing (Fiction/Nonfiction) student at The New School in New York City. She’s a public speaking teacher and host of TNS After Hours, a reading series dedicated to The New School Writing Community. She writes about family and her place within it.
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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.