This month man….amiright? I’ve been thinking a lot about how this month has changed in such a short period of time. In the span of 48 hours I went from teaching in a classroom to remote learning which meant that I had work differently than I had ever done it before.
Interestingly, I sent an email to my supervisor back in November about setting up distance learning for our school as a way to help students with credit completion or other school attendance issues, so it seems that my wish (?) has come true.
COVID 19 has dramatically changed life here on the East Coast of the US.
This has been a stressful time. People are dying, every person who has passed or will pass is a loved one to someone. People who are immuno-compromised are facing the fear of another attack on their health instead of just all the “normal” things those of us who are relatively healthy often don’t worry about. Healthy people have realized the importance of washing their hands (by the way, ew! you should have been doing that already!) but immuno-compromised people have always known the importance of good hygiene and had health threats hanging over their heads. The way most of us “normal” people are feeling right now, there are people in our lives who have felt like this every day for some reason.
People are working in ways that previously they haven’t before. As someone who sees themselves as a “tech” teacher, I felt mostly prepared for this and I still felt some stress and trepidation last week starting this process out. I can imagine people who are not as tech savvy are finding it difficult and feeling very overwhelmed with life (side note, when it comes to tech, it gets easier the more you use it just like the ukulele). Or people who have been laid off entirely because their workplace is closed.
I feel bad for my seniors who are supposed to be on their class trip to Disney right now and for the potential of missing out on the last third of their senior year if this thing doesn’t calm the hell down. The will be forced to skip prom, the may not even get a graduation ceremony. All the other weddings, vacations, baby showers, birthday parties (the Munchkin’s for instance) that have been cancelled because of this.
There is a lot of uncertainty and unknown. There is a lot of anxiety and fear. There are also things that I have observed over the past week and am hoping to remember when all this is over.
All those dreaded screens! Because of our connectivity due to technology I have luckily still been able to be in contact with friends and family members during this time. The Munchkin had her fourth birthday this past week and I was able to get the people closest to us on a video conference call to sing her happy birthday. I am also very grateful to have the ability to do my job from the comfort and safety of my home. I am lucky enough to still get paid during this time of economic uncertainty because of technology. Without those screens, I would also be one losing my livelihood.
Because I’m stuck at home, house work that has been sorely lacking is getting done.
Because I’m home more, I’m following through on a couple of the Coursera free courses I’ve been meaning to take.
Because events have been cancelled I have seen way more families just out for walks or bike rides together.
Because kids are getting tired of screens they’re going outside and playing.
Because the line between work and home is being blurred for me, I have to be more intentional about setting boundaries; what I’m doing and when I’m doing it matters much more now that I don’t have that physical separation between my work and my home.
Because I do have to get work done at home, we’re putting special emphasis on the Munchkin working on her impulse control and independent play. While she still makes appearances into some video chats or recorded lectures, she is learning how to entertain herself when she’s bored. I have luckily not had to increase her screen time too much to allow me to get my work done. But it has also taught me the balance of needing to give her a concentrated, focused, quality time so then I can go and do what needs to be done.
Because this is a stressful time I can model behaviors both for the Munchkin and my students about how to handle life because in life there is always stress. Does it mean that I’ve handled myself perfectly over the past week and a half of isolation? No, I’ve behaved pretty badly at times, but I’ve also had to apologize for that to the Mr. and the Munchkin because of it, which is a powerful lesson for myself and them.
I am hoping that we can look at this time and see the benefit of the quiet time, the home body time, the life doesn’t always need to be about get up and go. I’ve written about the power of rest before in The Importance of Jammie Night and how we confuse productivity with happy. Being busy doesn’t always necessarily mean I’m happy, sometimes when I am the busiest I am the most unhappy because I either feel no time for rest or I am running away from something uncomfortable.
During this time of uncertainty we can look at some of the lessons this season of life is trying to teach and carry forward when life returns to normal. And while I understand that this relaxation comes from a place of privilege, I hope everyone can see some lessons into the importance of certain social systems and how life could be different if we stopped always chasing the rat and worked together.