The fall 2021 semester has commenced on most US university campuses. It is the second autumn school term amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and for many of us, the first in-person semester in 18 months. A few weeks ago, I entered the physical classroom with great trepidation. Had I forgotten how to be a professor? Had I forgotten how to lecture in a physical space, how to pace myself, how to make small talk, how to gauge the body language of students and the atmosphere of the class, and how to get students to engage with one other or with me? Having taught semester after semester for 23 years—first as a graduate student and then as a professor—I’ve found that every week I am learning to meet the rhythms I have been practicing over the years. This process of re-learning and re-membering is hardly smooth. It is riddled with awkward moments,...

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