Don’t Really Know What To Say–Do Any of Us?

I feel like I’ve let all my professional colleagues down by retiring in 2018, given what the past 10 days or so have been for them. There’s no way I can understand the stresses they are feeling–for their students, for their colleagues-the techy ones and the ones who feel they are so lost right now trying to transition to new learning and teaching modalities, for their families, for our communities, our nation, and the world.

We’re stressed about and for friends whose jobs are have disappeared in less than a week. Some of us know people who are Covid-19+ or waiting to hear if they are. Fewer of us probably know someone who has died of it–so far.

Some of the people we are worried about might be students, others are friends, others are family members. My husband’s family lives in NYC and mine in Seattle–so we listen to the news about the two US hotspots nearly every moment of the day.

Our world is radically different. Teaching, learning, is different now too, if only because for now, it often takes a back seat to the virus and what it means for our lives, now and in the future.

So be kind. First, to yourself. Especially be kind to yourself if you are trying to convert classes in order to finish the term and provide continuity of learning. What centers you, in this new reality? Do it as often as you can.

Be kind to your students. They likely are overwhelmed with family, financial, school, mental health, and technological stresses. They may or may not share that with you, but it’s there. So assessments need to be rethought (e.g., the type, the number of them, the grading). Err on the side of grace.

Be kind to your family, however you define that term. That cup in the sink, the dishwasher still not emptied, the little one who is crying because she knows something is “wrong” but doesn’t have words to talk to you about–take a breath or two or three.

Help out. Every community is different. Research what it needs. A colleague started a GoFundMe for wait staff from local restaurants (many who are students). Or contribute if you can to your favorite charity. Log on to social media and see if there’s something that needs to be done. In a nearby town where I live, more people are signing up for going out and cleaning up trash on local highways. Families can do it yet still practice social distancing. Social science research has shown if we do something to help others, we often feel more in control when life is chaotic.

But most of all, know that we are in it together. So here’s one way I want to help. Anyone need a video guest for class conversation? Count me in. Here’s some of my specialties:

-teen Satanism

-new religious movements

-gender and religion

-social construction of reality, especially about the social construction of social problems

-how media construct social problems

-Class specialties: Introduction to Sociology, Soc of Religion, Social Problems, Constructing Social Problems

Email me at klowney@valdosta.edu

Be kind. Take breaks (emotional and physical ones). Hug someone you love if you can or reach out via social media. Stay in touch. We’ll persist…together.

I have never been so proud to say I am (albeit retired) an educator as I have been these past two weeks.

 

 

 

 

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