A Year Ago Today: Going into Lockdown Because of the Coronavirus Outbreak in the United States (and the World)
|Greig Roselli poses for the one year anniversary |
of living through Covid-19 in these United States.
One Year Ago Today
Today is March 12th in the Year of Our Lord Twenty Twenty-One. Last year today, I was in a faculty meeting. “We’re not closing school,” they said. By Sunday, we were in lockdown. And the rest is history.
I feel like I’m living through a historic moment like folks who lived through the Great Depression and hoarded pennies in their mattresses.
What Will Future Generations Say?
Future generations will ask, “What was
On the corner of 37th
Avenue and 79th Street
in Jackson Heights, Queens
the Twenty Twentys like?” My friend Amira’s child, who is now ten months old, will want to know what he did during the quarantine. “Mostly eat and sleep,” Mom will say. “But it was a long time before you saw real people besides the doctors who birthed you and us.” And Sam will say, “OK. I survived a global pandemic.”
Recognizing That This is a Deadly Virus
As of today, 532,466 people have died in the United States; and, worldwide over 2.5 million people have perished. I recognize I’m privileged because I’m vaccinated and generally healthy (although I need to lay off the potato chips and ranch dressing). The pandemic has disproportionately hit the most vulnerable of society. I realize I’m in-person with students — so there’s always a risk I can be infected. But think about folks who work essential jobs and live in small apartments where everyone is working, coming into contact with many people. I can slink away to the haven of a more-or-less safe space in my apartment.
I think this global crisis has revealed just how fragile the ties that bind are. I’m grateful for today. I mourn those lost to Covid-19, and I’m hopeful for the future.
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A Fourth Grader's Optimism: Who Needs Some Inspiration? (Especially After the Tumultuous Events in Washington, D.C. this Week!)
Feeling the need to be inspired, I found this post-it note on a bulletin board at the school where I am a high school English teacher. I teach in a K-12 school in the New York City borough of Queens.
|Julian in Fourth Grade doles out a massive dose of encouragement.|
Needing Positivity this Week (For Sure!)I am usually the teacher who brings positivity to the classroom. But lately I have been feeling down-and-out. Maybe it's the global pandemic that has swept the world, or maybe it's the attack on our democratic institutions on Wednesday that threw the nation's Capitol building in lockdown when a large group of Trump-inspired far-right rioters breached security protocol and entered the federal building, breaking glass, vandalizing the Speaker of the House's office, and even infiltrating the Senate chambers — where just an hour before, legislators had convened to accept certified electoral college votes from the states — to follow through with the Constitutional process to de facto validate the election of the next President of the United States, Mr. Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
Inspiring Note from a Fourth Grader
And I saw this note from a Fourth grader. Kids at this age have an optimism and clarity for both big-spectacled dreams as well as practical sense. Who doesn't want the world changed for the better. But I love how he admits it is a challenge. And kudos for his marvelous grammatical construction — "Changing the world isn't easy, but anyone can."
|Can you see Manhattan?|
There is the ship Amistad moored at Mystic. It's a slave ship that was the site of a slave rebellion. Today it sits gleaming and speaks of liberty and the promise of change. However, its rewarding story belies the tragedy of the Middle Passage that claimed millions. Mystic also has a reconstructed version of the Mayflower - it is called the Mayflower II, and it is being revamped and polished for a celebration in 2020 celebrating the original ship's voyage four hundred years ago. The kids on our trip know these stories, and they see in these stories a symbol of religious freedom. However, I am confident that the Europeans who came to the New World were not as pure in their pursuit of liberty and the right to equality as we would like to paint them as in the history books.
You can also see a whaling ship in Mystic - and if you are a good sailor, you might get to talk to a re-enactor. We met a jolly lady who was presenting herself as an immigrant to Mystic who arrived in the 1870s. She had left Alaska after it was sold by the Russians to the United States. She spoke of her voyage, a trip from the islands of Alaska, down to Panama, through the canal, past Jamaica, and then up the Atlantic coast to Long Island Sound. I liked hanging out with the kids. They're city kids — most of the lot — so they were into running around, kicking a soccer ball on the village green - and feeling the cold October air in their face. It is kinda crazy to be chaperoning twelve-year-old kids for forty-eight hours straight, but I loved their energy. Kids that age are full of energy but no focus. It's refreshing.
Hey. If you know all the answers, then you're a fool, right?
Every once and awhile an employer or person will ask me about my educational philosophy. As they say — there are many ways to skin a cat — but here is one version of what teaching means to me:
|Stones of Erasmus|
I've written about family history on my blog - check out related articles here.