So, I decided to pick a day, Monday March 15, as the first true day of weird, the first day we had no school when we were supposed to. We haven’t seen each other since the previous Wednesday, March 11th, but that was still normal. None of this was yet possible.
I plan (today) to put up a post a day, to stay engaged, and to encourage my students to stay positive and healthy.
I watch our Governor Andrew Cuomo every morning around 1030, he gives a good speech. He tells stories, about his mother, about his daughters, about being Italian-American (like a metalloid I guess!), all to make a point.
He says that we are not in normal days, but these will pass soon enough and our lives will come back together again. He doesn’t know how long it will be, one month, two, even three or more. No one knows yet. But, normal it will be again. He described it as this long.
He said that we will all experience stress, being lonely, isolated, and bored, but it will only last this long out of our whole life. We need to maintain our calm, our sanity, and to help each other. That means calling, texting, and being silly. It means taking walks, but maintaining our social space to minimize the possibility of transmission of this virus.
He said it’s awful, but, it’s for a short time. He also talked about how many young people just are not staying apart. It’s not so much about you, because when a younger person even gets this, it is not such a big deal to them. It’s the transmitting it to others that is the problem.
He said that what you do affects me, and what I do affects you. We have a “social compact”, an agreement among ourselves, unwritten but real, that we will work together. It’s important to do the right thing. It’s imperative to protect the folks who are more at risk.
More than you can know right now, some students are feeling very alone. Some kids just have less of a social circle than you do. It’s such a difficult ask but if YOU could dig deep and call someone (text too) that is not really in your group, someone you know is more alone than you, and just say something like, “Hey, I know we don’t talk much, but I know you’re a good person, I just wanted to see how you’re doing.” Then wait for them to talk to you.
Even if this goes not so smoothly, it’s okay. Break the ice. Open that door a crack. Tell them, “Hey, I will call back again tomorrow, okay?”. You will help that kid not feel as afraid, or as sad. Everyone gets some social time at school, even if it’s just a passive “I hope someone is nice to me today”, but now they don’t have that either.
Reach out, be a good person yourself. It will be hard the first time, but I promise it will get easier. If you find out that the person you reached out to is not too interested in you, you’ll know, and they will just stop taking your calls. But give them that chance. It’s time to shine as a person.
For fun I am including a funny old photo of me, to help you motivate your friends to come back to read these posts every day. Please send me a note about how one of these weird phone calls goes. I might (with your permission) write about it WITHOUT names, of course, to encourage others. Also, Send Jokes!
This is me with really long hair after eating way too many chocolate chip cookies for too many years, using that big (now missing) elephant trunk fan in the front of the classroom. That was all it was good for!
This is me also, posing for my Nobel Prize, trying to look smart. When it’s summer, it’s easy to get bored, and shaving the top of my head was funny!
Please text me that you read this, and tell your friends to read it too. Then read it again, and watch for more!