The coin of the realm.
Hi David, this was thought-provoking, thank you. Connection has been an issue for me recently. This year (my school year started in April) we are fully back in the classroom, but we are masked and I have really struggled to learn everyone's names. I asked my students to send me a profile picture that I could use to make a cheat sheet. It didn't really work.
The irony of the situation is that during the past couple of years, when we were doing everything by Zoom, I felt like I had a much better connection with many students because we had so many short, man-to-man meetings. Even though the conversations weren't very long, I still felt like I had a better handle on who my students were as people than I do now.
But I'll keep at it. Because I think you're right, it makes learning better for them and for us, too.