I thought I would take this opportunity to share some Covin-19 impressions, especially as they may apply to our CPC community. I am encouraged in this by the extra reading time many of us have now.
I’ve been told by several people that this whole thing seems like a bad dream. Anytime soon we will all wake up and pinch ourselves. But it’s not a dream, not a drill.
I’ve almost finished reading a long book by Barbara Tuckman ( what a storyteller ! ), detailing the woes and the offspring of calamity and imbecility in fourteenth century Europe. “A Distant Mirror”, as it turns out, is a more apt title for the book than I first thought. A few weeks ago, before all this virus business started, I read “Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond and got a very good tutorial on the nature of germ warfare, with germs as generals. The fourteenth century, for one, had to deal with several horrible outbreaks of the plague, often cited in “Mirror”. I often point to that outrage when I’m in the mood to count my blessings.
Ms. Tuckman makes a consistent point throughout her study- poor, depraved kings and princes and absolutely jaw-dropping inhumanity all had their place- they enlightened the good guys and motivated people who knew better to initiate reforms. Bad times were necessary guideposts, marking the need for social, political and economic reform. All this reminds me of the adage that one can’t make an omelette without cracking eggs. I get it. There is little consolation in knowing it, and, if we all had a choice, we would choose not to be educated so dramatically.
We are now in a difficult, transformative period ourselves. Bad times. We will learn from this. Our kids and their kids will be much better prepared when it comes the next time. We just need to pay attention to what got us here and plan and act accordingly.
There are more recent specific developments on the educational front that need commentary. Current hardships have done a bang-up job improving our on-line delivery programs. While challenging, we could not imagine a more propitious use of technology than educating a world of young people who would be otherwise bored senseless.But as useful and enlightening as this all is, it will not become the new norm- a realization of some early computer pundits who envisioned complete dominance of computers in human exchanges.There’s just too much going on in the old fashion teaching variety. Content can be shared in numerous ways. There is no problem in communicating necessary subject matter without all the technological marvels now in our possession. We should all notice that our on-line program did not really catch fire until we went “real-time”, giving kids just the simple pleasure and ability to see and talk to their teacher. Teaching is an ambiguous creature. There is one certainty- the real worth in what we’re doing, a condition that makes all other worthy ambitions possible- the primary benefit in on-line, real time, live or not, is the human interaction between teacher and student, a relationship that will put computers back in the tool shed when all this is history.
We have cracked a few dozen eggs in a very short period of time. I’m sure, like me, you are eager to enjoy the omelette. One step at a time, for as long as it takes. Right now, we focus on staying healthy.