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The Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics

ISSN: 2472-7318

Quarantine, Care Work and Re-mixed Schooling

Sidouane L. Patcha

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Keywords: pandemic experience; online teaching; motherhood; multimodality; creative work

Categories: Creatively Caring for Self, Others, and Place; Visual, Sonic, Tactile, Interactive Texts as Self- and Collective Care

My audio project titled “Reflections on the Covid-19 pandemic” was created using Audacity and Adobe Premiere Rush software, during the Digital Media and Composition (DMAC 2021) institute organized by Ohio State University during lockdown. Participating in this program was one of the ways that I stayed connected with colleagues, while finding best practices to encourage effective pedagogy in my virtual classes—a much needed resource for students schooling from several ‘isolated’ corners of the world.

As I juggled my memory for a working topic in our given projects, I thought deeply about the effects of the pandemic on my academic work, and how increased care-work re-shaped my life as a writer and remote teacher of Technical Writing. First, I was facing the reality of becoming a mom in a season where handshakes and close contact with others were discouraged. Also, having to stay confined in my home with family and keeping up the responsibility of teaching virtually was a challenging experience. I shuffled between teaching, babysitting and taking care of family daily, with little and sometimes no physical interaction with the world outside of my home.

Increased care-work reshaped my life. I eventually learned to do academic work without a precise schedule or working hours - this was far from my reality. I learned to rely on peer-writing groups to reduce the time it took to compose documents while having to multitask at home. Attending more virtual conferences was however a plus for me considering that this became the new norm. As we make our way out of the pandemic, I continue experimenting with best online teaching tools and ways of expressing multimodal composition. I also continue to explore my newly re-shaped writerly practices in hopes to find a balance between care work and my scholarly work.

Access Soundcloud here.



The Covid19 Pandemic has changed the world in ways beyond what we imagined. It came like a wind which took away lives, separated families at crucial moments, and for a while it blew away our hope and believe in what the future holds or could be. Day after day, month after month, it went on and on, and till today more than a year later, it lingers.

For people like me, pregnant during the peak of the pandemic, feelings of uncertainty, fear and anxiety were not far off. This was surely also the case for front-line health workers, businesses, families, schools, and other organizations as there became a pause to all the world’s activities.

Some effects of the pandemic are anticipated to be long lasting in the education sector, where I belong. Online learning for example, which intensified in this season has been both straining and relieving to students and faculty in several ways.

The comfort of teaching and learning from home is also challenged by the ability to learn new and accessible tools necessary to uphold engaging pedagogy in online platforms, and to balance work and family, especially if you have kids staying or schooling from home.

Despite the ongoing pandemic and its drastic effects on humanity, the presence of the vaccine has brought some relief to some who now have a renewed sense of hope, as they feel more comfortable moving outdoors with or without wearing face masks.

There are also those who have mixed feelings about taking the vaccine, considering the side effects it has had on their friends and family who received it. With all the pros and cons of this, the presence of the vaccine is definitely one step in the right direction.

 I remain hopeful, that this phase, like all others will come to an end. And surely the world will attain some state of normalcy again. So, cheers to hope for better days ahead.



Dr. Patcha is an instructor of Technical writing in the Department of English at Virginia Tech. She has a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Texas at El Paso, with an emphasis in multimodal literacies and user experience. She also has an MS in Rhetoric and Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University, and a BSc in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon, West Africa. Her goal as a professional is to build relationships and programs founded on a commitment to ethics and diversity in the study and practice of technical and professional writing, multimodal and cultural literacies, and participatory action research.

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