Thursday, March 19, 2020

Dorms Closed for Coronavirus: My 90 Second Announcement

Two weeks ago I was on spring break. Had you told me that I would be teaching online and not likely to see my students again for the remainder of the semester, I would not have believed you.  But here we are.

For the last week, I have been more exhausted than I have been since my daughter was born.  You know the good old days when you child would not fall asleep easily and then you would lay down in their room and fall asleep on the floor?  I adjusted to using Zoom for teaching my college classes. I learned how to do breakout rooms. When the students were taking their test in Canvas and they couldn't see the images, I scrambled and posted the images in the chat. The students who were absent received individual emails to check in on their health and well being each day.  Some are struggling.

I have always said I am a teacher first and that my subject area is math.  Three-fourths of my students were scheduled to take a test tomorrow.  About 90 minutes ago, the governor of Pennsylvania said that non-life-sustaining businesses are to be shut down as of 8 PM tonight.  My college students need to be out of their dorms in 24 hours.  Some have already gone home, but not all.  I know they are confused.  They want to do their best.  They feel conflicted.  They are emotional.  They are worried.

Here is what I sent to them through our class announcements about 10 minutes after the President sent the email saying that college students must leave their dorms in the next 24 hours and go home or to a place they consider safe.

My college went from Tier 1 to Tier 5 of our response plan in less than 10 days.  I am still shellshocked.  For all the other teachers out there, accept it.  Your teaching won't be the same.  Your students aren't the same.  They won't remember any (or very little) of the content that you might teach them over the next 2-3 months. Lower your standards now. 

The tests don't matter.  The syllabus doesn't matter.  You won't be able to go at the same pace. You are human.  Your students are human.  Listen to them and care for them.  Listen to your body and care for yourself.  Spend time with your family and care for them. 

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