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Super Surreal

Four students walked into the classroom. I recognized three of them.

“Mr. Hasan, meet Andrew.”

Andrew stepped from behind the others. He smiled and waved.

“Andrew!” I said.

“He’s just here today for the test,” one of the other boys explained. (That day the sophomores were all taking their English II standardized test.)

Andrew looked around the room as if he had never seen it, which in fact he had not. You see, he is a remote student so his view of the room is only what he sees in Zoom.

The boys picked up the handouts from the table by the door. (We have a red/blue color scheme to distinguish honors and regular classes. There are two credenzas by the door: a crimson one for the regular students and a cobalt blue one for honors. The first three boys taught him the difference between the two.) Then they walked to the back.

Andrew chose a seat recently vacated by a student who has transitioned back to being remote. They quietly talked and looked at the handouts. Then I heard chuckling and shuffling of papers.

I looked up.

Andrew was holding the handouts with one hand extended into the air and looking at them in mock contemplation as he rubbed his chin with his other hand. As a remote student, to him the notes and homework are always digital PDF files. So this was something new.

“Now this is super surreal to see these in physical form!”