The unsettled nature of the time has us all on edge. We argue about it, stake out positions and label ourselves, or more likely, others. It’s too easy to do, especially within the realm of social media. I’m as guilty as anyone. I do it too–but I’m civil. And most people I know are civil. The ones that aren’t stand out–and cause us to lose more sleep. So I’ve pulled back greatly, though not entirely.
As I’ve begun my 30th year of teaching, online and not in my classroom, everyday I’m reminded that I’m very fortunate to have a job where the paycheck is continuing and also that I don’t like the compromise of teaching online. It isn’t the same, it never will be-and maybe one day, the education students get online will rival the one they get in person, but for now I think not. There is too much human contact needed–and lost in this game. Driven by fear, we’ve allowed the digital world to be our surrogate and we all know it’s second best in nearly every way.
It gets worse for me when I lay awake sometimes thinking of what this time should be–how my daughter should be on campus as a sophomore in college and getting ready for a life-altering trip to learn, live and work in Africa, something she now cannot do.
I think about how this class of seniors would be my last and I’d like the chance to get to know them better and learn with them, teach to them, talk with them about what their lives are like. That harmony, of being on the campus and working with the kids is really a thing I do miss this year. No, I don’t miss it enough to do another year when this all ends–but honestly, we are coming up on seven months of “lockdown” or “lockdown lite” and I never saw this coming. I thought it was possible to go to six months. I thought maybe that could happen. I never saw it going like this and I certainly never saw the craven, dictatorial and outlandish behavior we are treated to daily from politicians of all stripes and wanna-be revolutionaries bent on taking advantage of the moment.
It’s rare I allow myself room to rant like this–perhaps it’s just too raw. I still have hope, I still believe we’re going to get better. I still believe that at some point, we will live with the virus and through miracle or medicine, we’ll be together again–sitting in baseball stadiums, traveling on airplanes, driving in cars, working in hotels, restaurants, theaters, schools and school-yards. We should by all accounts be doing those things now–but we aren’t.
But let’s keep the flame lit. Raise a glass, keep a smile. Do what’s right and power forward. We cannot give up now. Not now, surely…