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Undue Panic

1.2 L Super Big Gulp

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I am alerted that a lurker might appear. Apparently someone in the life of one of my students with a personal agenda has threatened – possibly as a bluff –  to infiltrate my classes.

Big gulp. This is uncharted territory.

I mean, do I want to be the smiling face welcoming a stranger into my classroom? What if this person poses as a guest student? My principal gives me a few safety tips.

Class starts. A lurker appears.

Guest 7 arrives late and soon changes his or her screen name. The “guest” cannot or will not confirm his or her last name or state his or her age. A student types into the chat that she thinks the “guest” is a real student, and she types in the name of the student she thinks it is. I apologize and quickly disconnect the unidentified lurker. After a minute he or she rejoins, this time using the name suggested by my student.

I tell the kids that I have to know who everyone is in the class for everyone’s safety.

I hope I am vigilant and not paranoid.

40 minutes after class ends, my “guest” is still logged in. I disconnect the intruder.

I contact Rabbi R. He writes back, that things check out okay. This “guest” seems legit.  It’s a student who either just walked away from the computer while logged in, or was hanging around the classroom. No big deal.

But in my vivid imagination, a little creepy.

For me, this constitutes a defining moment. My exciting new world is not exactly virtual, not a computer game, but real three dimensional life with debris to dodge on its paths of construction.

We’re building  a thing of beauty here, and so we will conquer obstacles that try to get in our way. Morah Elana will do everything in her power to see to that! And may Hashem help our efforts succeed.

Okay, chill Morah Elana. Caution will help my students, but undue panic has no place in our classroom. Room 613 is a safe, responsible community.