No One Asked Me

My area is seeing a low (but steady) rise in new COVID-19 diagnoses (mostly in the 20-40 year old demographic). School starts back in four weeks. I enjoy my work as a technology resource teacher. But, no one has asked me what I thought about teaching remotely or face-to-face.

Forget politicians and health advisors. How am I to mitigate between parents who vociferously pontificate their opinions regarding distance learning vs. face-to-face learning, temperature checks and wearing a mask, political hoax vs. science, and, and . . ? Let’s not forget class disruption as students defend their parents’ viewpoints.

I am not an economist, health care, nor sanitizing professional. I realize the economy is in the tank. Parents need to get back to work. I’m aware that the young are less susceptible and have fewer complications. Will I have ample time to thoroughly sanitize and disinfect (two very different things) EVERYTHING between classes? Will I be held liable if a child in my class tests positive for COVID-19? In addition to wearing a mask; should I wear gloves? a face shield? a gown? I’ve read the “suggestion” for those educators who’ve voiced concerns . . . However, I do not want to take an early retirement. I also don’t want to unknowingly jeopardize my at-risk love ones.

No doubt about it; our students received an emotionally stressful, equitably questionable education the past few months. There is worry of falling “behind” (but honestly, are we not all in the same boat worldwide?). Learning centers all over the world are struggling how to proceed between the science, politics, and threats.

Will educators be considered “essential” and receive hazard duty pay? Will teachers be paid overtime if the district decides to split the day into AM/PM hours? Will the district pay a teacher’s medical or funeral bills for an at-risk family member?

No one asked me. But if they did; I would ask in return, “Which is more important: face-to-face/5-days-week education or a teacher’s emotional and physical health?” Or, is the economy the only barometer?

Have a great week! — Joanne

Strange Days Ahead – Staying Connected

These are not normal times. #understatementoftheyear  In prior times of crisis, most communities were comforted by gathering together collectively. Now, we are socially distancing ourselves. Schools have closed, indefinitely. Bars, restaurants, libraries, travel, museums, public events; they too are falling victim in order to “flatten the curve.” With the closures; how do we pay our rent, balance work commitments, homeschool and entertain our children, take care of the vulnerable?

When “social distancing” was first coined, I wasn’t too concerned. I do quite well by myself puttering in paints or textiles or reading. Then, on Day #3 of my school’s closure it sank in. As the technical resource teacher at my school, trying to prepare for and navigate remote learning this week, I haven’t worked so hard in a long time.

I read a sad local newspaper article today. A family is unable to visit their dying 90-year-old father who is in a hospice home. With the new *CDC rules; he must be in the latter stage of dying before they can visit — when he is unresponsive. Puts my petty complaints into perspective.

What about the socially challenged among us (not to mention that many already don’t trust the institutions that govern us, the ones we rely upon for support). How will this new “experience” affect them? Technology started social decline twenty years ago as more people now tend to socialize online instead of face-to-face. But, maybe, during this confusing time time, technology can now help us to reach out to each other. Whether it is via online video calling, telephoning, sharing photos or videos… it really doesn’t matter. As long as we make connections.

So, back to my remote learning experience. In just three days we’ve learned some things about communication and isolation. We need to connect. We have encouraged families to share with each other via our school’s intranet drive. We have received images of lost teeth, measuring length with shells, study spaces, teachers at work, and virtual playdates — just to name a few. I leave you with remote learning images. 😀

Have a good week! Stay connected! Stay well! – – Joanne

* CDC = U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

#bettertogether #stayconnected #wevegotthis — p.s. the beach scene is in a private backyard