“So the anxiety level, at least for me was a little high. It’s not a day to day life for us, but it was always in the back of my mind saying, ‘if something happens to my parents I can’t go’.”– Sujatha Thiruvengadathan
Sujatha Thiruvengadathan is an assistant instructional professor in mathematics at Merrimack College. In the interview, she describes her personal and teaching experiences during the pandemic. Among her main priorities was ensuring that her students had the best possible experience, both academically and in terms of mental health. Having opted to teach in-person as soon as the college allowed it, Thiruvengadathan discusses the ways she tried to provide her students the education they needed despite the heavy restrictions and struggles of hybrid learning.
Patrick Krol: So it was in March that the first lockdowns started happening in Massachusetts, so what was that lockdown like for you and what was the hardest part?
Sujatha Thiruvengadathan: The hardest part for me was not being able to be with other people. Of course I have my husband and my child at home, thank God, I wasn’t alone by myself. I enjoy teaching Sunday school, I teach six year olds, and then I come to college and I teach, you know, young adults. So I had a good balance that goes on both ways. So for me not to be able to be in person with both age groups, it definitely had an impact on me. Other than that, I didn’t think it was the end of the world, I didn’t think anything was happening because we don’t eat out much because I’m a vegetarian. So things being closer restricted didn’t bother us and we don’t go watch to watch movies, or something like that so anything closed/canceled didn’t affect our family that much.
PK: Yeah that’s that’s definitely not something a lot of people could say but that’s good that at least it wasn’t difficult in that regard. But was the Sunday school still going on? I’m curious about that did they go remote or?
ST: There’s Zoom everywhere, but again, we have a six year old either completely hyper, bouncing off the walls or completely sleepy so I’m desperately trying to wake them up. So we had both ends of the spectrum, so we can’t get up to “hey can you get up and shake it off” like when we did it in person, when we have this different energy we say “okay let’s get up move around” do all of that, but now when somebody gets up and moves the kid just disappears.
The interview was conducted in Reading, MA and North Andover, MA on 23 November 2021 by Patrick Krol.
This interview is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.