Don’t Feel Sorry For A Teacher

I run an immediate risk with teaching colleagues with such a title caught in the eye of the storm that is COVID-19. Our lives and the students we teach are forever changed, anyone, anywhere in the world will be impacted more directly than indirectly by this virus. We will all have to adjust to the new normal until a medically healing vaccine will be discovered. I speak of teachers because in my world most of us still have our jobs, and before this pandemic, there have been history books written on the scrutiny of teachers and the lack of respect for all of their work in the classroom with ‘your’ children.

I would be remiss if I didn’t first speak of all of our civil servants, our police, our fire workers, our EMTs, our service workers, our medical teams who put themselves directly in line with the contagion. In addition many people have the opportunity to still work from their homes. We have become a necessarily adaptive society using our online social network at an alarming rate. So let’s get back to teachers shall we? Without discounting the incredible numbers of unemployed I want to speak of our opportunity as educators in this unique time.

A couple of years ago, in the district I teach we went one to one with technology. No one in their right mind imagined our current peril to be the reason. The planning committees across the world with research to back up their findings would suggest that students can go further with their learning using online resources. Our school district created a system of keeping academics in focus on what was once known as a snow day. The idea didn’t take the entire day of freedom from students at home, but it did offer a limited array of academic tools to keep students on track. This system was imagined to compensate four or five days of lost education in a winter bound region of the country.

The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the rules. Students need their education, they need to move to the next level. Students across the world need to be able to achieve a current level of education in order to hone theirs skills to live formative futures that lay ahead. Students in post-secondary also face the same challenge. For the sake of this writing, the focus in on elementary through high school, and primarily on senior classes whose graduation walk are now hanging by a thread. This does not even speak to the extracurriculars – athletics, fine arts, business, etc.

When this virus first began to impact education, we were told we would have a week and a half before our spring break to begin implementing tools to provide students distance-learning for the rest of the school year. It would appear we may not enter the classroom through graduation. I remember hearing a colleague one day suggest that maybe teachers will gain more respect now that parents are forced to stay home from their jobs in order to care for their children. I cannot imagine what parents who need to work and cannot are going through in respect to their children who are dependent upon their love, compassion and care in home. During our ‘shelter in place’ or ‘stay at home’ mandate in nearly every state in the country, every country in the world, our children are left living uncertain and vulnerable times.

I personally don’t believe this gives teachers a better opportunity to gain respect. In fact, it increases our responsibility to move students forward. It demands that as a teacher we find a way to inspire and support students to continue moving to the next level of their education. The COVID-19 virus is a mandate on education, and we as teachers need to embrace this opportunity in the midst of crisis.

Now more than ever teachers cannot manifest the identity that allows the general public to believe we may take ownership in lesser stressed occupations than workers in many capacities across the country. Teachers need to step up and create online classrooms that will capture the imagination of students across the world. In the classroom, we as teachers are asked to provide students with a safe environment for learning and coping in a dynamic and fluid world. More than ever, as we reach into student homes we need the parents to feel confident their children are not being ignored and not being forced to move in rampant fashion into negative aspects of such remarkable free time in their lives.

As a teacher, we need to reach our students and not let them believe at an ever increasing and alarming level that we do not take stake in moving them forward and giving them the tools to continue to hone their academic skill set. As a teacher, we need to continue to be a student mentor. That is what we signed up for. That cannot change.

Be safe everyone – keep your distance – wear your masks – love each other.


© Thom Amundsen 4/2020

3AM

A quiet shadow

a new normal

remember the names

seemed abandoned souls

when in the cloud of our lives

their names forever

etched in our mind,

and now tonight

I gave pause to a moment

looked outside to see empty streets

an occasional walker,

sometime a couple hoping they together

might escape the nightmare

looms about us all indiscriminate

infectious –

we need this isolation

the loneliest of hearts

forced tonight, tomorrow,

in the shadows of sunlight

the misty tears of a rain,

always to live for ourselves,

to find peace in the mind

of our own stability,

for this is now tomorrow.


©Thom Amundsen 4/2020

11 AM

It is when I read the news,

the WHO

releases numbers

some refuse to hear,

yet I am curious,

if not a little scared.

 

I looked outside tonight,

used to live on a quiet street,

maybe three cars an hour,

tonight,

on a busy highway,

a couple of cars, blocks apart,

8 PM,

not even bar time,

not close to rush hour

just a traffic glut

on a regular night.

 

I stopped in the grocery,

crossed paths with masks,

curious eyes,

downcast glances,

not a lot of conversation

when avoiding

human interaction.

 

I’ll go to bed again tonight,

I’ll be alone tonight,

the new me,

getting used to an isolation

without a cabin nearby.

I’ll think about those I love,

I miss,

I yearn,

my double life,

has become

a singular challenge

waiting on

tomorrow,

the news.


© Scott F Savage 3/2020

The Monster

He walked alongside,

non-descript,

hoping to be noticed

in order to quell

such is the pain inside

of an insecure mind.

 

Started as a child,

one day he lost all hope

in the manifest of

life over death,

or the cruel hand of God

in what we call a miracle,

yet absurd,

inside the fear

is simple departure

of the one we love.

 

That internal flame,

became ignited

virtue of a confusion,

the wonder of why,

the angry response

to losing someone we love

at the hands of innocence,

where that person,

that wonderful being,

is cut short.

 

A woman recently,

suggested I take the knife out of my back,

its is a long line to

understanding

why we carry the demons we do,

when in reality,

if we could just live our lives,

we might

discover

a certain peace,

the one we see

in the eyes of those

we may never know.


© Thom Amundsen 3/2020

The Sudden Nature of Touch

I am in my quiet,

the fortress of my own

 

isolation.

 

I’m doing everything right,

six feet apart,

wash your hands,

clean your countertops,

do the laundry,

wear gloves at the gas station,

(wait I didn’t, a week ago, what if … )

 

So many, wonders, what if,

thank God I have my dog,

the only issue though is when he reaches to

 

 

touch me,

 

 

it usually ends in an abrasive

scratch,

I’ll rather have you close than

catching me in full gallant leap.

 

I can think of other times in my life when that

unconscious leap occurred

into the arms of one we love,

 

of those we love,

 

of the beauty and grace of a hug

of knowing we were consciously

being held.

 

I no longer imagine my friend

who was in her own faze

 

of the healing nature of a hug

 

asking for a constant hug

to such a degree,

would I take a turn

a distant hallway,

find a stairwell,

a corner to escape this moment

 

of discovery.

 

I would like that moment back,

or maybe let’s wait a week from now,

I promise,

I will shower,

wash my hands,

wipe down my countertops,

keep a six foot distance,

until no longer

do I need to repress

 

my own desire,

 

a need to be held,

 

a wish to hold

 

a screaming irony to avoiding those hugs

throughout the entirety

of my own

chosen

 

isolated life.

 

COVID 19 rant


© Thom Amundsen 3/2020

Waiting for the Zombies

I’m not one for mass hysteria,

won’t find me holding a

‘the world will end tomorrow’

or

catch me if you can

while I run myself ragged

with a self-seeking

paranoid delusion.

 

Walk me through the pain,

it is real,

it is scary,

so surreal feels like an apocalypse

not the news,

go shopping at Target tonight,

would you, would you dare,

wear a mask,

(not kidding about that one)

anticipate lots of empty

shelves

and more staff than you have ever needed.

 

They, the staff, the workers,

the kids and parents and friends and family,

they need their jobs,

they’re one of the fortunates,

as am I  teacher,

online learning,

we didn’t sign up for this,

but we will shine,

for tomorrow

our kids will find

a way to learn their skills,

rather than,

driving mom and dad insane.

 

Now let’s talk about zombies,

the eery fantasy,

I’ve never been into them,

not even

World War Z.

 

Just look at the horizon,

the quiet landscape,

only a few cars drifting by,

storefronts,

not boarded yet.

Only the hoarders

and the needful,

who only are thinking of themselves,

like me, sometimes,

I’m afraid.

 

Thank God for the service workers,

the medical, EMT, the delivery, civil servants …

all the others I seemingly ignore,

but count on,

to bring me my more.

 

We live in the path of

a mysterious virus,

like a machine it is expounding its girth,

we are all the suspect

of our own desire to breathe.

 

The zombies are coming,

(well they’re really not)

but what will we call this

when the dust settles,

the changing of our world,

the change in our lives.

 

Embrace the mystique of this our real,

let your heart and soul lead the way.

Thoughts in a Covid-19 World

I haven’t felt like writing for quite some time, but today I received the inspiration I was pleading, and so it goes that I want to talk about this Covid-19 crisis that we will seemingly endure for quite some time. It will change our world, our lives. The number of positives today reach 169 in Minnesota alone, not to speak of the enormous numbers across the world.

Our lives are impacted as we all get used to this self-quarantine in our homes. The temps outside are just shy of my desire to take my bicycle out, though newly tuned, I am thinking at least a short ride in the late afternoon when the temperature peaks. That would seem a freely healthy move inside this isolation.

I am a coffeeshop guy and I went through early withdrawal with the words of our Governor shutting down any inside seating. It makes frightening sense to me now as I watch the numbers and their daily rise. It is important to recognize these are real people and not simply numbers. People’s lives across the world are changed, forever. People have lost loved ones like a germ warfare attack throughout Europe and now having reached the states, it is clearly an epidemic not seen since perhaps the Polio outbreak.

I’m a teacher so I don’t have to go into work. We are planning to go online with our courses in a couple of weeks, not only finishing a quarter but perhaps completing the school year online. I haven’t wrapped my head around that. At the same time I appreciate the time off to get my head straight with my own personal life, I realize our work, as experimental as it is, so vastly impacts the lives of our students. I hope to give them a solid foundation for their education in both core and elective classes.

I run a  theatre program that will shut down for the spring if these effected lives do not begin a downturn in the weeks ahead. I don’t see that happening anytime soon. As I sit here with a mild cough, I get nervous, and wonder about the thousands of lives in Minnesota already infected. Again, I’m only focusing locally, because really that is all my brain can muster right now. Looking out my window, I know that on everyone’s mind outside that walks by, is the virus. We are living a summer blockbuster. The only difference is it is real.

I think as a teacher, someone said recently, maybe now our profession will be appreciated when families are stuck at home rather than sending their children to school. Well then I would say all of those people in all professions need to be respected for the impact staying home has on their livelihood, and then don’t forget the medical personnel in all capacities who are dedicating their lives to curbing the spread of a virus that they cannot even clearly see a vaccine that will brings this to a halt.

My car has 12 miles of gas left in it before empty, and I am not in any huge hurry to go fill the tank. There really is no need, unless I decide to just take a drive and never get out. That might be in the near future if the temperatures don’t rise and my bicycle remains hanging in the garage.

I wish everyone peace during this very difficult time. I hope you may all hold your family and friends near your heart and soul. I hope those alone don’t feel completely invisible to our society and world, and realize there are many in the same circumstance. I hope people may find their peace of mind within themselves and use faith and prayer, your chosen method of processing this incredible violation upon the human condition..

On a lighter note, I hope Netflix does not shut down.

Peace everyone,


@ Thom Amundsen 3/2020