Educators need to get some balls

I’m not envious of my peers. Hell no. I say a little prayer every morning. 

Thank you God for not having me in my old job at this time. Truly I thank you. AMEN!

I think that would put me over the edge! Yep. I would definitely be going crazy licking glue in the Kindergarten classrooms as I cry over how in the hell one is to pull this thing off?! How do you pull of a task destined for disaster?!

 My heart brakes for my fellow educators. You cannot WIN here. Nope. That has been my advice to them when they call. Accept that fact when waking up and do the best you can. Not that there was ever winning before, but now you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. I’ve spoken to a few. So upset by the onslaught from every corner. No summer respite to be had. Constant anxiety and stress. One of my favorite educators put it best.

“It is like swimming blindfolded in shark-infested waters.” 

Educators are being attacked from all sides, especially private school educators. They not only have to deal with uncertainty and somehow pulling off a “miracle” (more on that below), but they also have to deal with parents who are scared, financially strapped, and angry. Sure, the public school parent is annoyed but the private school parent who pays for this education is the shark in those waters!

Oh there is that chill again. I’ve met those sharks…many of them, but I never was blindfolded swimming among them.

This is pure torture for educators who happen to be ALL lovely people. I say that with conviction. These are people who have chosen to devote their lives to children. They will never get that second home. They will never retire with financial security, they have chosen a path of service. They are used to being there for you and now some of you ask them to do the impossible. “Give me my money back.” And you want to KNOW what the fall looks like, because you paid for it and need to make decisions (like should I renew my lease?!). I get it…these are real concerns. But they don’t have Crystal balls nor can many give money back. They don’t have the funds that you think they do.

But trust me they wish they knew and they wish they could give you your money back. But they don’t and can’t. So stop torturing them.

Just for a second think of all the logistics, they are dealing with. Beyond the ridiculous miracle they are tasked with (more on that below), they have pull this miracle off logistically with keeping within the “guidelines” (that change daily!). So if a school goes to a week on/week off schedule, what happens for the faculty member whose kids are on a different schedule?! Do they leave their own kids home to fend for themselves?!

So if you have a minute, send a quick note of appreciation to your school administration and stop attacking over questions about what the fall will look like or your money (that they DON’T have anymore- they most likely spent these last few months to stay afloat and pivot to onine). 

Or…maybe you should start attacking…but not about that stuff, about the RIDICULOUSNESS OF THE ENTIRE CONVERSATION.

School reopening is all based on economics, not children’s (nor faculty) safety. Can we all say that aloud? Can we?! Or am I the only educator who is not tied to an institution right now that has the ability to?

And trust me as a parent, I want school open. More than you will ever understand. I’ve been doing this for MUCH longer than you. I need my kids to return to school, but I’m also a realist and a researcher. I don’t believe in “plans.” I believe in science.

We can say whatever we want to make ourselves feel better, but these last weeks have proven that it will be the children that will spread this virus. Don’t believe me…follow the sunbelt’s data. It’s the KIDS who have caused the spikes. Schools will be the ultimate incubators and if our 20-year-olds can’t social distance, who in the hell thinks a 6-year-old can?

And even with the REAL data coming from the South, Universities continue to push forward…not because they are looking out for our youth, nope. This is about the bottom line. They have to. If they don’t open, they could close forever and the cash in online education isn’t as good as in person.

My favorite are the “new rules” on University campuses. (I’m laughing just writing this!). How students will sign a pledge to socially distance and wear masks at all times on campus. How they will have some live classes (we all know this is BS). The one thing that hasn’t gotten the large media attention, is that the professors aren’t going to show. Do you blame them?! And these are tenured faculty…good luck getting them there. Oh and there will be no “parties” allowed on campus. That is my favorite piece all of the universities are throwing in. Oh okay University, have you ever met your students?! good luck on that one.

University openings will be the beginning of a very serious health crisis.

As Scott Galloway so well put:

Every university effectively falls to the highest common denominator of infection rates. Every university catalog brags that their student body represents all 50 states and 20/30/40+ countries. This means every large university will be welcoming thousands of people from regions that have some of the greatest infection rates globally. After 12 weeks together, those students will travel back to all 50 states, and international students to the 4 corners of the earth. What. Are. We. Thinking?

So I’m calling it now.

It will be a ROUGH fall.

Schools will open as they are forced to for the bottom line. Public will be forced to open for child care and private will follow. And then they will close and we will all be isolated for months to break the very large surged they created.

It is frustrating as a country that we can’t get this right. Let’s get infections down before we talk about schools. But…I also get the need. We all want schools open, but this will be one of the BIGGEST mistakes in our history (mark my words).

So if you want to be angry at your school. Be angry at the CONVERSATION not the logistics. Be angry that they aren’t the school with the balls to have the hard conversations. (Shout out to CA state schools who do have these balls). Be angry that the educators aren’t using their EDUCATION to make informed decisions but instead are looking towards public opinion and our governmental leaders who too are putting the needs of the economy first. Be angry that they can’t be the school to say that socially distancing high school students is impossible and keeping masks on second graders is beyond anyone’s pay grade. Be angry that we are talking about this. Be angry that you keep hearing about how they will clean classrooms regularly and your children will be in pods, instead of not admitting that none of this has any efficacy of working. Be angry that they are looking at options 1-5, when they should spend their time and resources on only ONE option (distant) until we have this virus under control (which we don’t). Be angry that your money is being spent towards nonsense.

And I get the want and NEED. Educators want to open. This one too. Mind the Gap wanted to open in person too. We would make more money on that program. Our demand would be higher. Kids don’t want to be home. They want to party! But we are data-informed educators and that is not the data-informed choice. We do not intend to harm society but intend to solve issues. We want to help lift the burden on society with our crisis in higher education, not add to it.

Educators, join us! It is not an easy line to take. No one likes it. But we have a moral imperative as educators. We are public servants. We are not servants to the government nor to parents. We are servants to the world.

START ACTING LIKE IT!

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