I am carrying on with the daily chores of life, although with a little more care and trepidation than a few weeks ago. So many students are infected but have stayed in town, so I am trying to avoid running into the store for items, especially stores near student housing. Today I picked up my groceries from my online order, but then I did go to my annual physical and to Costco wearing my mask.
I think what is difficult right now is the confluence of crises: the election, the protests, the effects of climate change (all the fires and hurricanes), the virus. Which one should I focus my anxiety attack on? Actually, being able to get away to the cabin in Syria has been a pressure valve that allows me to feel pretty good about life despite the problems. People find their own release valves. For some it is pets, for others it is gardening or yoga or playing games on Zoom. I don’t mean to make light of the pressures, though, because plenty of people are stuck in terrible circumstances: joblessness, homelessness, addiction. This is where the government needs to step in.
My job as a teacher is evolving quickly during this time. I had my first Zoom class today. I shared a screen with my students and we were able to have a discussion not so different from one we would have in the classroom. In addition to completely reorganizing our classes for online, teachers are having to learn new technology quickly. I had never used Zoom before this summer. In the end the learning is good. I think that having more online options could make education more accessible to more people in the future and less expensive. Regardless of when a vaccine is found, colleges and universities will be different at the end of this. Teachers will be more versatile. Face-to-face teaching will share space with many other ways of learning. We will have found so many more tools for connecting with students.