Writing a satirical thank-you note is not an original idea, but when Zoom bombing actually became a thing, I couldn’t resist. For all of the amazing teachers who just kept on going during the Covid-19 pandemic, the students of the world (and their frazzled parents) thank you for your undying commitment to education.
Dear Mr. or Ms. Zoom Bomber,
I’m writing to personally thank you for joining my Zoom class the other night. The fact that you spent your own time and initiative to log into a class that you are not a part of, nor have any interest in, was not only an outstanding display of academic aptitude but was also very astute. You must have thought about the fact that I, a digital immigrant university professor, would need a little help engaging my 36 students for the first time in a remote learning format. You provided quite a dramatic distraction, which was definitely needed because I was attending to all the screens and dings without losing my place in the lecture — or really losing my s#!% altogether. Your colorful comments and disgusting images activating the chat box into endless flashing orange added such cathexis to our learning environment.
Really, I am writing this note in all sincerity. You see, the class you bombed was an abnormal psychology class. Otherwise known as psycho-pathology. Yeah, that’s right. I was teaching mental health professionals how to make psychological diagnoses. I got to model my crisis intervention skills instead of actually following the lesson plan. We faculty love nothing more than these kinds of rare, transcendental teaching moments because they are the best teachers within themselves. Forget the awkwardness of trying to teach counseling strategies in role play through a computer screen. Once their initial horror subsided, my students loved learning critical incident de-escalation and diagnosis in real time. They even thought I planned it that way. You made it work for everyone.
I’m not trying to feed into your grandiose thinking or anything, but you have truly piqued my intellectual curiosity. I believe your behavior displays an evolved psychiatric spectrum. Zoom-bombing sort of seems like sociopathic love-bombing, only it’s educational. I’m fascinated, and I want to know if there is a correlation between the two. Would you like to help me out with my next research study? It’ll be a promotion/tenure slam dunk for me, which I really needed. My scholarly productivity has waned since Covid-19, probably because I am now forced to deal with new problems like unregistered invaders getting sick pleasure from the chaos they are creating in my classroom.
The best part of all: I don’t have to prep next week’s case study. Because … you’re it! You probably didn’t even think about how much time you would save me in course prep while I transition everything to remote pedagogy. I am grateful.
Should you like to join us next week, it might be a transformative learning experience for you. In the very least, it will be a way to add interest to everyone’s quarantine since Netflix is starting to get a little boring. Please do consider bombing us. We will be discussing personality disorders and antisocial behavior. You might even get to experience a personal example of narcissistic rage. There will be 37 mental health professionals ready to engage, practicing our newfound skills in telemental health. It will definitely put a whole new meaning to the term “screen play.”
Dr. Amy O’Hana
Associate Clinical Professor, Mental Health Counseling