Day 22 Do or Do not
Are you doing it all? Writing the Great American Novel in between your four hour workout and your gourmet cooking classes with Antoni Porowski plus developing and implementing enriching curriculum for your homeschooling children while killing it remotely at work and completing those long neglected projects around the house to make your spouse happy?
Or are you spending your days covered in Cheeto dust watching Harry Potter movies (Really, 8 in a row-very impressive commitment).
Either way, provided you are sheltered in place, you are doing exactly what you need to be doing.
“It’s a Whack a Doodle Doo Time.” Said a certain superintendent at a certain virtual staff meeting Monday morning. Which means that yes, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer or be productive but if all you can do is get through this then do that. BTW it’s awesome to work for a superintendent who uses phrases like Whack a Doodle Doo.
It’s another shelter in place day in paradise, not that it matters all that much, the beginning of the second week of Distance Learning, and my student productivity is not quite what I had hoped for but am I going to fail students and lose sleep over it? Heck no, I’m going to continue to try and engage them just like I have tried to do for the last 25 years in the classroom. Sure, I’ll reward the ones who are productive but I don’t know what everyone’s situation is and these are unprecedented times.
And is my principal breathing down my neck because of the crap job I’m doing? No, quite the opposite. We are in this together, charting new waters. In fact I am now in charge of Creekside’s technology department (we don’t have a technology department) because of my quick embracing of Google Classroom, Hangouts, Zoom, and all the other stuff I knew little about two week ago. It’s amazing how easy new challenges are once you embrace The Little Engine That Could philosophy.
“If you’re living inside a screen, you aren’t living.” I’ve had this posted on my whiteboard since the beginning of the year but now we’re all living inside a screen so it’s make-the-best-of-it time. Right now I am monitoring my Google Virtual Office Hours on Meetup, writing this on my laptop, fielding questions and grading work from students on my phone (I would never have asked a teacher for their phone number in High School) and looking forward to 3:00 when I can get on the elliptical in the garage and watch “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” on the IPAD. Without screens I would be on the couch with a book probably covered in Cheeto dust.
And forget privacy, it’s all public now, all your posts, your texts, your Facebook messages, your Zoom meetings, all of it. The stickers are off the cameras, the paranoia about Cookies and sharing information is gone, not quite sure if that’s a good thing but again, it’s make-the-best-of-it time.
If Big Brother really wants to see how boring my life is, I say have at it.
But as a pathological optimist I hope that this period will lead to a greater appreciation of all the things we take for granted. Human connection, nature, gatherings, stores, travel: those activities which seem so far away but will return, hopefully within a couple of months.
And how could this period not increase our screen awareness? How could we not come out of it knowing that people are more important than profits? That we are social animals? That saying hello to strangers and doing random acts of goodness releases dopamine in a way that is just as powerful as anything on a screen.
So do or do not, what is important is to keep healthy and safe and if you tire of being covered in Cheeto dust, make plans so that tomorrow is a little better than today.