1 in 2000: The Professor Who Did Expect to Teach Under Circumstances Like These

“Hello everyone!” said Professor Borde, perfectly on-time to her flawlessly set-up Zoom class. “It’s so great to see you all today, especially in this virtual setting.”

Borde, who has been preparing a virtual curriculum for the last twenty years and has never held in-person classes nor left the living room of her home in Pownal, is receiving unanimous acclaim from her students.

“I hope to do a lot of screen sharing this semester, and I do know for a fact in advance that that will be effective, so no need to bear with me or cut me any slack here,” said Borne, gracefully flipping through multiple prepared tabs on her computer which had been set to Do-Not-Disturb that very morning.

“It’s been a lucky break, I suppose,” Borde told The Haystack on a Zoom call run so smoothly that our reporter described it as “pillowtalk.”

Borde, meanwhile, is completely humble about her talents. “I mean, everyone has weird hobbies, and in the spring of 2018 I started fiddling around with online teaching. You know, as people do sometimes.” She had to leave the call fairly quickly, saying that Microsoft Teams had some “very interesting functionality” that she wanted to investigate.

Borde, who unadopted her dog and got divorced in 2017 to “eliminate any possible unplanned distractions,” has also centered her home life around her Zoom classes. When class time rolls around, Borde locks her seven year old son Tommy out of the house. “Around 1:25 Mondays and Thursdays I tell him the ice cream truck is outside. Then I lock the door behind him. He’s pretty dumb because it’s worked twice a week for two semesters.” Her tactics have been successful: Borde reports she’s never once had a problem with Tommy asking for something as trivial as “his legos” or “lunch” during a class meeting.

Borde began her classes last week by going over the syllabus, which she skillfully had embedded directly into the classes website which was hosted on a premium Wordpress page that one of her students referred to as “the Google of websites.” The site is complete with all of the homeworks for the semester as well as a submission portal. She then had students take turns introducing themselves, which went particularly smoothly because Borde calls on students in the most efficient order by using an algorithm she designed in 2005.

“It’s gonna be a great semester,” Borde said at the end of the first day of class. “It may not be the circumstances any of you expected, but it’s the exact ones I expected, so we will not be figuring things out as we go. I expect all of you to be pressing the spacebar to use the temporary unmute function when you wish to speak, and navigating the terminal solely with keyboard commands.”

Borde, despite her many preparations, knows she can’t account for every variable, especially her pupils’ circumstances. “I just told students with WiFi problems to not even bother showing up,” said Borde. “This train stops for no one.”


Lucy Walker     Noah Cohen-Greenberg     Sam Mermin