Photo by Nick Fewings via Unsplash.
In four more weeks I will be in a building
That will not be disinfected with regularity
Not because of staff
My colleagues, families, and students will be in our building
No masks required
The collection of droplets in the air may be lethal for us
Especially when you consider how people have been living
But there is no consideration
We are teachers
We serve the children
We will just have to fill in the gaps, as usual
(And buy thermometers to take temperatures)
(And buy cleaning products to disinfect classrooms)
(And buy gloves)
Wash hands frequently
Only one staff bathroom
Kids' bathrooms run out of soap
And paper towels
Be a team player
But don't make colleagues social distance
Be a team player
Teach extra kids when colleagues are absent
Because there will be no subs
And teachers' increased risk is not a concern
But we must have school!
No school is bad!
Because babysitters are a must
Not because education is a must
I say: Why can't we do all virtual school?
They say: What about the businesses?
To which I respond:
Who will be left to patronize them?
Photo by Aaron Burden via Unsplash.
I refuse to believe that being concerned for my own safety is selfish. It is not. Being made to feel this way is nothing more than gaslighting. Since when is the overarching concern for human life unnecessary? Why does it have to be balanced?
I am a proud educator of children. I have found success in doing this in person, and recently, and to a lesser extent, through virtual means. Being an educator is part of my identity. It is my passion. However, I do not think my need to educate should supersede children's need to survive. I think that is selfish.
The way we have always done it - capitalism and a "booming economy" - this will have to be rethought. We simply can not have schooling used as babysitting while parents work to fuel the economy. That model will not work in a pandemic. Perhaps this, too, is part of what we always knew, but is glaringly obvious now.
We must begin to care for each other. We really never have on a large scale.
Photo by Robin Benzrihem via Unsplash
You came into my space with no mask
Knowing you could infect me
Knowing that if I get sick I would die faster
Knowing that so many of us have lost loved ones
Because someone, no YOU, decided
That wearing a mask was
How nice it must be
To treat people as replaceable
You have no idea
What humans know
How humans behave
Photo Credit: Anshu A via Unsplash
Remember when this question was but an extension of a greeting - something said out of habit? We didn't always really want to know how someone was doing. We were quite content with the expected "Fine."
I've asked this question a lot since March 13. Actually, I have asked it constantly. Part of my coping strategy. Friends and family (and even not-friends) ask me all the time. It's nice to be asked. But you know what? It is taking me longer and longer to answer it.
Why? Because first of all, I am not fine. And even if I lied and said I was, it would be obvious that I was lying.
"How are you" alternatives:
Are you physically safe?
Are you healthy?
Are you in a space for a conversation?
Would you like me to just listen?
Did you sleep last night?
Do you have enough food?
Are you going to the protest?
Will you social distance?
Do you promise to be careful?
What time is your curfew?
Are you sure you can trust them?
Did you pack an emergency travel kit?
Can you stay on the phone with me and not talk?
Can you send bail money?
Will you use your body to protect mine?
Will you care for my loved ones if I don't survive?
What a difference a day makes.
Photo Credit: Mike Von via Unsplash
Reflecting is good for the soul. Doing so in public is terrifying and exhilarating.