Adapt. Improvise. Overcome.
Updated: May 27, 2020
COVID19 has all but put a stranglehold on life as we know it. It won't stop us from learning.
We've been social distancing for months now and it seems like a natural part of our lives. But it wasn't always this way. Having to be socially separated for such a long period of time might seem like a gift to an introvert--I should know--but it comes at a cost. How did this become our reality?
Here it was. January 2020 and we had just finished up the fall semester exams, enjoyed a three-day MLK holiday weekend and returned to school for a new semester. A new semester of learning and more importantly a bunch of new faces and names to become familiar with at school. I was eager. (Some students were eager?) One could say recharged and ready to go! The fall semester had been particularly exhausting for me for a few reasons. Some personal, some professional. Either way, I was ready and looking forward to the new challenges that come with starting a new semester of learning.
Cue the virus
“After all, global sickness and disease only happens in other countries, not the United States, right?"
February was mostly uneventful, or at least the normal day-to-day for us everyday folks. There were snippets of news foretelling the near future, but most of us weren't listening to the ominous warnings. Why should we? After all, such things as sickness and disease that affect large populations only happen "over there" in "those other countries," right? Surely not here in the United States. (Right?)
Welcome to the month of March. Now, if you're a nerdy-sort-of-type or science person like I am or friends of mine are, you were informed and aware that something was not right in the world. You were keeping a watch on the situation, even tracking the spread of the disease through online resources. Many of the large news outlets were writing pieces about what was occurring in China, discussing the events on podcasts, etc. They caught my attention, but I fell complacent as most of us did and thought, "Surely, that's not going to happen here." Well, we know the rest of that story.
“The virus determines the timeline, not us,...” Dr. Anthony Faucci warns in an interview with NYT host Michael Barbaro.
I'm a teacher, an educator. I've devoted the last decade and a half of my life to becoming a better science teacher. I like technology and have used it in different ways over the years. My interest in incorporating it has waxed and waned the last decade for various reasons. My graduate work had everything to do with incorporating tech into my lessons. Years ago, when I was teaching biology in a classroom far, far away, I incorporated innovative technology into my lessons. As much as I loved it, however, there was always the hurdle of bringing my lessons to life with technology with a population of students that did not all have access to computers and/or the internet. Thanks to this global pandemic, it looks like that hurdle will become less of an obstacle as district and state leaders work diligently and at a feverish pace to bring technology equity for all students.
Time to dust off that graduate degree and put it to use. :)
Quite literally almost overnight we have all had to adapt to a new style of living. We have all had to improvise how we manage everything about our daily lives to be able to overcome this hectic and crazy time. And let me be brutally honest, we teachers are learning as we do this whole elearning thing. I wouldn't say it's been easy for me to make the transition, but thanks to my interest in techy stuff, I have been afforded an opportunity to re-purpose my style of teaching and how I apply my skills as a teacher to our new norm. My new website and my blogs are the early manifestations of my creativity and excitement for what's to come in the coming months and years as elearning is our normal.
I spent ten weeks in basic military training in the 3701st unit. We affectionately referred to ourselves as the "O worst." (Get it?) I didn't realize then just how much that time of my life would prep me for my future. Our motto was simple: Adapt. Improvise. Overcome. Basic training is about learning to deal with intense adversity. In many ways, we are all going through a basic training. In a very short period of time we have gone from being regular citizens just doing our normal routines of life to being hyper-aware of our surroundings and the challenges we face to literally survive.
Making improvisations is how we adapt. Overcoming new challenges is our strength. We'll figure out how to adapt and we will overcome this natural disaster and its threat to our social fabric.
Hang in there.