Marking the Moment: Teaching During COVID


“Taste and Smell” by Rachel Smith 

When we transitioned to online learning at the beginning of the pandemic, I found it very difficult to write about how I was feeling. While I wanted to reflect on my daily experiences, I could not find the words to explain such a dramatic shift in my life. I realized that if I felt this way, it was likely my students felt similarly. We spent our last unit studying personal memoir, using a multimodal journaling project to document this time. My students filmed vlogs, interviewed family members, created digital collages, and developed new ways to communicate their experiences. We also discussed how borrowing the words of others using mediums like blackout poetry could help us express ourselves. In that same vein, when I considered reflecting on the past year, I struggled to find the words. Therefore, I turn to this poetic form to explain what it has been like teaching and learning fully online. I hope this piece, “Taste and Smell,” conveys the continued fear, exhaustion, and uncertainty of the Covid-19 crisis, as well as the cautious hope I feel one year later.

Text-friendly version:

“Taste and Smell”

This impossible “plague”
could consume my touch 

a forceful flow

contagious and potent 

the toll so endless. 

we are destined for 

a safe life, 



I suppose. 

a star and a dream 

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