Friday, February 11, 2022

Weathering the Apocalypse--There Is a Bright Side Somewhere

Everything sucks, kind of. Last summer, I was comfortable getting together with friends, unmasked. I went to a weekly gathering upstate with friends and didn't worry at all. It seemed like COVID was subsiding. Of course, when Omicron hit, I thought again. I became much more careful at work and elsewhere. I've got enough KF94 masks to get me through the year, or almost. 

Now there's a new one, Son of Omicron or something, and we could easily have another surge. I hope we don't, but COVID has proven to be nothing if not unpredictable. I'm prepared for whatever. There are some bright points to consider, though. 

First, consider that we now have a vaccine, and don't have to have nervous breakdowns every time we go to the supermarket. While none of us want to get COVID, the fact is our risk of death or prolonged hospitalization is very much diminished. We also know that surgical masks tend to protect others from us, and are a courtesy, while N95 masks and their near-clones go a step beyond and offer us some protection as well. 

Of course those who say schools are the safest places are delusional  Still, they're not precisely death traps either, not even with those crap humidifiers de Blasio went out and bought. (If Adams really had swagger, he'd buy HEPA machines for all of us and trash the other ones.) Most of my colleagues who were infected have theories as to why, and most of them involve outside contacts. Of course, that's far from a scientific survey, but I'm happy to say all those I know of are back and doing very well

Another thing that's important to note is that we, NYC teachers, did not do all that badly through this crisis. Sure, every moment of it has been stressful. Sure, every twist and turn is excruciating. But no one I know of is the Oracle of Delphi with some simple answer for how things are, or how things will be. 

And the fact is, while we were at highest risk, we were able to get accommodations that kept us out of buildings. That was a mixed bag for me. While I was happy not to be out risking my life, I absolutely hated teaching online. Looking at 7 kids and 24 cat pictures, knowing that a good portion of those kids were asleep, playing video games, or committing unnatural acts somewhere made me nuts. I am all over my classroom. I like to know what's going on. This made me a teacher tied to a desk with no idea whatsoever what my kids were doing. 

It bummed me out to no end. We were looking at an incentive, and I thought, the hell with it, I'll retire. Then they pulled the incentive, and I thought. "I'll stay and show those assholes. I'll make them pay." However, I'd already stepped down as chapter leader. I made sure there was someone to take my place, and she's doing a great job so far. 

I have a lot of friends who are musicians. When the apocalypse hit, they had no work at all. They had nothing to fall back on. (This is distinctly different from countries in Europe, or Canada, where governments decided, you know, people should not starve.  If you want to understand why we in the US can't have nice things like that, read The Sum of Us, just out in paperback.) Unlike many Americans, we continued to receive full pay throughout this crisis. With all my complaining about everything that goes on, I deem us relatively very lucky. 

I'll tell you another thing that surprised me. I've been teaching five classes for months and I've been very happy doing it. With many of my colleagues fleeing, I've decided not to retire. I've been lucky to find a job that I love, a job that I'm good at, and I've been lucky to have such great kids through the years. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I'm hanging in. I hope you can find something, some way to find this too. 

Remember, when admin tells you it's serious but not impossible, think, "It's impossible but not serious."

blog comments powered by Disqus