I was doing so well, writing my blog, handling my business… and then…
Awesome! One school where I teach got 2 extra days of spring break before spring break. Wooopeee!
But then, a few days later… this Covid19 was really serious, and going to travel ’round the country like some game where Russian Roulette has been merged with Whisper Down the Lane, and we had to stop going to buildings. No more buildings people!
And so no more live school, for me, for my daughter, and for my students. And what do I have, over 100….
The next decision, both of my schools got extra spring break, more than, IMHO, they needed, Covid19 or no Covid19. If you’re sitting at home anyway, why not be doing school work?
Well, because the colleges weren’t ready for them to do school work.
Of course, I’ve been teaching online since 2003. I was ready for it.
The schools were, and still are, not.
These are all the full-time people, who teach 12-15 hours out of the 40 hour week they are paid for, hold office hours for 2-5 hours more, and go to an occasional meeting.
WTF are they doing with all that extra time all the time? ‘Cause I can tell you, they aren’t doing research or writing novels. Playing Fortnite? When I was in college, in the dark ages, all the teachers in the English departments were writers and doing research or creative projects. Somewhere along the way that disappeared in many colleges. Now they just teach, hold office hours, and attend meetings about how to deal with inept adjuncts like myself. 😛 Can you tell I hold a dim view of full-time faculty? What happened to the faculty who used to have us to their homes for salons? Ride the subway with me discussing world religions? Share pieces of their poetry manuscript with us? College teachers, in the places where I teach anywho, don’t do that anymore.
In any case (that last paragraph was a trip down “old man yells at cloud” lane; wasn’t it? Grouchy much, Di?) it’s been two weeks of scrambling to try to prove to my colleges I can teach online, and get Sophie and Dave and I squirreled away as a small country of three people that exists on a houseboat in the middle of the ocean, with occasional shore leave to walk Oliver, and there went the blog. Which, just a quick aside, reminded me just now that when I was a kid and had twin beds in my room Regina and I used to pretend they were two house boats next to each other, and the ocean was full of very hungry sharks. I loved that game.
This song seems appropriate to the times Wooden Ships.
All this has thrown me off of my course of scheduling my life, working on myself, I put on 2 pounds that I had taken off because…. we have so much food in the house, and food and I love each other dearly.
Today, time to try and get back on the path of self-discovery and improvement (while teaching at home and living in harmony among we three).
And so, I very humbly say that I consider myself crazy lucky at this time because:
#1. I am adroit in an online environment. There is no online program out there that I haven’t taught with, and, this past Thursday, I logged in to Zoom to “work” a virtual writing center, and I spent from 9-3 watching other teachers not know how to click a button, turn on their sound on their computers, use the mouse pad, etc. Full-timers, part-timers, tutors, all hopelessly analog. Of course, I had to sit there while they all tried and tried again, for my full shift, and it was maddening…. I truly feel like I should have “I try harder” after my name, because I do. I have always taken any training I could get, and I am usually a fast learner, which, to be fair, that second part is just function of lucky genes. That, and, probably another function of lucky genes, I’m not afraid of new things. I am sometimes stressed and annoyed by them, but I am ultimately not afraid of them. Being a person who is mostly not afraid is a very lucky thing. And so, thank you Universe, for making me technologically adroit in a difficult time.
#2. We (Hubs and I), at great, great personal financial expense, moved our daughter in September from her limpy public school into the only non-religious private school in 50 miles. We are talking taking on the equivalent of a second mortgage payment AND we had to buy a second car. AND, we are damn lucky, because when the kids came home from her school, her school had a full schedule ready for them for each day. She is at the kitchen table from 8/9-3 each day. She has virtual art and music as well (through Zoom meetings), and she is currently working on a biography of Fredrick Douglass in addition to her math, science, vocabulary, and, I mean, you name it. They sent all her textbooks home, the majority of which are workbooks as well, so she does her work directly in them, and she is learning, and practicing her instrument, and taking online quizzes. The poor school is closing at the end of this year because there just aren’t enough students anymore to keep it going, but we have been so very lucky to have had it this year, when we have needed it more than ever. AND I BELIEVE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, but after K-4th of bullying (my daughter is an adoptee, an Asian person, and off-beat… things that don’t go over well in conservative white white white Sussex County), and grades 3-4 of downright ignorance and neglect from her teachers (straight Ds, “…but those are passing grades!” Sure they are….) my daughter had had enough. I was not going to ask her anymore to lose her love of school to support the local institution that was not supporting her, and so, we paid. We went into a debt here and there, we cut down on stuff, etc., and so what? If your kid leaves elementary school with non-passing grades, he or she is simply destined to continue to fail his or her way through a diploma, because, oh yes, the public schools will keep pushing that child forward… until the child hates school, feels stupid, and drops out, or limps to a shoddy diploma. My daughter, now, is doing her work independently, and she gets it, and she is truly learning. And if she cannot get into the charter school next year, then I will homeschool Girlfriend, because I am not putting her back in that system. And she will be ready for it because this school has taught her to like learning and to be an independent learner. Meanwhile, the public schools here (though every kid in every classroom in the school has an iPad they use in class every day) sent the children home with nothing, and now they are hoping to get some schooling together in mid-April for them. Those poor kids, and their parents! And so, all ranting aside, I consider myself hugely lucky because we were able to have our daughter in such a caring and progressive school when the shutdown came, and because we were able to push our mortgage out a bit, and etc. to afford it. We just paid school off this week, actually, so we should begin to renormalize in a month or so. Thank you Universe!
#3. It’s raining a lot these past two weeks…. which helps my mother decide to stay indoors, because she is not an introvert, and she really misses going shopping, visiting friends, playing mahjongg, going out to restaurants. Momma… I love you; please stay home!
And, honestly, I consider myself lucky because I have always been a person who thinks for myself and who reads and finds things out. In times like this, when very different messages about how to protect our health are being bandied about, I feel really lucky that I read, from many sources, and listen to NPR, and can understand what I hear and what I read. My mother always emphasized reading, and learning vocabulary at dinner, and never let me ditch school, and for that I am grateful.
I am a very quiet and still introvert (I may have mentioned), and so this time is easier for me than some other folks, and we have the class pet with us, so there’s that too.
May you be well; may you discover new ideas and worlds inside yourself as you float in your little wooden boat on the water, may you be loved and be with people you love, and may this virus run its course soon.
I have no idea why you read my silly blog, but I thank you for doing it.