Original post March 20, 2020. Edit added March 22, 2020.
To all the administrators out there I just want to say, This is happening.
J.B. Pritzker, the governor of Illinois, just issued a statewide “shelter in place” order until April 7. Thirty minutes before, I received an email inviting me a faculty meeting over Zoom.
This is a global pandemic. This is the end of business as usual. Everything is shutting down. Please stop asking us to do our jobs as if this doesn’t change everything.
My kids are having panic attacks. My spouse and I have lost our appetites from stress. We had to tell our kids that they have to be extra careful when they play because we can’t take them to the hospital if they are hurt. We have to face the reality that this moment will shape their childhood forever. This may be the earliest memories our 5 year old retains. This will almost certainly be the first time for our children that someone they know dies.
So, administrators, we need you to get your shit together and face up to the fact that this is happening. No more Zoom trainings. No more Outlook Teams meetings. No more massive emails outlining halfway responses and plans that are changed 24 hours later. No more prepping for Spring courses. No more assuming Spring courses will (or should) happen.
Because what is happening is a global pandemic. As educators, I believe we have a crucial role to play. But, please, we need time and space to learn what that role will be. We also need you to leave us the fuck alone for 5 goddamn minutes to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. So no, I will not be joining the Zoom meeting.
Edit: I wrote this is a moment of anger and despair. Reading it over now, I see that I’ve set up an us vs. them. I don’t want that. I understand that some of us are coping with this through work. It’s just that many of us don’t have that as an option. And I know that a lot of administrators are being asked to make impossible choices. Please involve the people affected by these choices in decision making. Trust us. I think we all need to take a step back and give ourselves and others space to mourn what we’ve lost and time to process the “new normal.” I am trying to be compassionate to all my co-workers and to myself.