Teaching Tips

It’s the little things

We in CTL have adopted Slack as a part of our remote communication flow. Slack has provided the perfect avenue for quick-text responses, goofy memes, supportive encouragement and recognition for all the hard work going on in our department. 

I’ve particularly enjoyed how this new form of communication has fostered a sense of relaxed community. It’s brought us together in surprisingly fun ways that wouldn’t normally seem to fit in a professional workplace environment.

Exhibit A: The #random channel
Right off the bat, Kristin started a #random channel (Slack organizes workspaces with channels that users create) as a place to collect all the non-work related foolishness that might bring a little light to our current circumstances. So far, we’ve been treated to Taco Tuesday recipes and lounging cat pictures from Molly; virtual orchestra’s and artist-led YouTube tutorials from Kristin; puppy spam and #quaranskills from Ellen the barber; and many, MANY memes from yours truly (see below––they’re fantastic).













While CTL has always been extremely collegial, I don’t know that under normal circumstances I’d ever send memes to my colleagues and supervisors at work. But if there’s one benefit of shelter-in-place, it’s that it highlights that we all miss each other, and we all need a good laugh sometimes. So memes, and cat photos, and quarantine barbershop stories are not only allowed, they’re encouraged!

Exhibit B: Emoji reactions
I’m a BIG fan of emojis. I think they’re ridiculous, and versatile, and a quick way to bring some humor into any situation. Slack is perfect for me since it allows anyone to “react” to different messages––and you can choose your own emoji reaction. I’ve been having fun choosing the most random emoji I can find, that has absolutely nothing to do with any emotional reaction, just to add some spice to life. For instance, in response to the message, “I’ll keep you in mind if things come up! I appreciate your help and support,” I “reacted” with a yam. Why? Because why not?! I enjoy the air of mystery and complete ridiculousness of this process, knowing that my colleagues will constantly question, “Did they mean to use a yam?” Yes. Yes they did mean to use a yam.

Exhibit C:  The #esod channel
This goofy, meaningless activity led to yet another avenue for fun––the #esod channel. Every day, I create an “Emoji Story of the Day” (ESOD)  and update my Slack status to whatever emoji narrative I’ve decided on. Sometimes it’s an original quippy one-liner, and sometimes it’s based on a movie or book. Everyone in the department is encouraged to guess what the ESOD is, and it’s become just another fun connecting point in our day. People have begun to create their own ESOD’s, and it’s become a unique way of communicating how our work day is going.

Some gems include: 

  • 🛥 cruisin’

  • 📐u acute (read: u a cutie)
  • 🤸🏻‍♀️cartwheeling into the weekend…
  • 💍👨🏼‍🌾👨🏼‍🌾👨🏼‍🌾🧝🏻‍♂️🧙🏻‍♂️(Lord of the Rings)
  • 🕸👧🏼🐷🐓🐮 (Charlotte’s Web)

There’s no rhyme or reason for what can help bring joy into your daily workflow. I would just say that in times like these, no amount of ridiculousness is off-limits if it can put a smile on someone’s face. 

Share your tips for staying goofy in the comments below! 

Sam Engel is the CTL post-graduate teaching intern. They enjoy playing with dogs and confusing their colleagues with ridiculous emoji reactions. 🦐

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One thought on “It’s the little things

  1. Thank you for this very important reminder to stay goofy!

    My personal favorites:
    “I ‘reacted’ with a yam. Why? Because why not?!”
    “‘Did they mean to use a yam?’ Yes. Yes they did mean to use a yam.”


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