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reflection on waterMay 12, 2020
Leigh Garrison-Fletcher, Education and Language Acquisition

At times feel like I’m living in a dream, everything is so surreal—the people in masks and gloves; signs up about the importance of washing hands and social distancing. Driving home yesterday, I saw that the huge sign usually announcing road work instead flashed reminders to stay home to flatten the curve. And my morning ritual of reading the news has left me even more out of sorts. I have trouble understanding the politicization of this crisis in the United States; the current protests against masking and staying at home in parts of the country where I come from seem impossible. As I witness the disbelief/distrust in science and the conspiracy theories floating around, I feel that this cannot be real. How are there so many people in our society who don’t understand? How do we have a leader who doesn’t understand, who encourages disbelief for his own benefit?

But I must stop. Breathe. Think of the goodness that also exists and the positive, smart, good people who exist. For me, this is a time when my anger quickly rises and when my anxiety is worse than usual. I keep reminding myself: Stop and breathe.

It is somewhat easier to stop and breathe when I’m focusing on my work, connecting with students, working on the book project for which I am an editor, planning our CTL LAC workshops. But it is also difficult to find the time. No longer in school with her teachers and friends, my eight-year-old, an only child, is facing much anxiety and sadness. I am trying to balance home life and work life, while constantly at home and never alone to think. I do know that I’m so fortunate to have this problem. As I’ve read, we are all in the same storm, but we are not all in the same boat. My boat is a pretty good one, but it is still in a storm. I try to take the time to appreciate my boat, but I still feel seasick.

I am very aware that many of my students are in lifeboats, and I hope that LaGuardia is an extra buoy for them. It is for me. I forget a little about my seasickness when I’m hosting my Blackboard Collaborate live meetings with students. I can escape when I join Zoom meetings with colleagues and talk about our research and shared work. My students give me hope and help me think of the positive, smart, good people that exist.

This is a difficult time, there is no doubt. I am more fortunate than many, and am so grateful that I have a job, that I have an outlet to escape into; and, most importantly, that I and my loved ones are healthy and safe. I hope the same is true for any who read this. We will weather this storm and I really hope we will come out stronger.

Read Michele Piso Manoukian’s introduction to this series, which includes links to the other faculty reflections on teaching during Covid19 in the Spring 2020 semester.

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