• HeatherJoy Bagnall

Asking to Prepare for COVID19: I had the Audacity to Ask

Updated: Sep 28

For 9 weeks educators around the globe followed international educators as they first encountered this “new coronavirus” while teaching in China. For nine weeks we watched in pain and horror as families had had to make painful decisions. Should they stay overseas, should they return without jobs to the United States or Canada? What about families where one parent was from North America and the other from Asia? We watched these educators as they struggled to care for their families, teach children online, find ways to exercise, entertain their own families, feed their families, and stay mentally in the game of life, often from tiny cramped city apartments.

For 9 weeks we saw this was coming. I sold my nice car and worried about impending financial pain. What about education? Any ounce of common sense said we should be preparing for when not if. We had time to implement internet safety standards, prepare social and emotional awareness, and prepare our educators and communities to teach online. While we can whine and cry about if China withheld information about the severity of Covid19, the bottom line is we saw this coming and we were not listened to. We allowed teachers and parents to think this was not going to happen here.

When schools in the United States were finally confronted with this Covid19 nightmare, I and others like me were ignored when we asked how we were going to address the social and emotional concerns of our students, teachers, and communities. We were ignored regarding security issues of throwing thousands of teachers and their students online without basic protocols being rolled out. We were silenced when we demanded basic digital safety and security be taught to our communities. Parents first. What if we had just educated the parents first?

For 9 weeks, the White House successfully led the United States of America to the den of lions. Great, majestic, beautiful, starving, trophy-hunted, pissed off, lions. It’s too late for any recompense, Mr. Trump. For 9 weeks we watched our fellow international teachers, their families in the medical, and other fields fall behind the eight-ball while Trump whored around on social media as an attention-grabbing pussy cat.

Like no other time, we are hiding our families. Our medics and frontline workers are on suicide missions without personal protective gear to save other Americans and keep the country with a minimum pulse. Our teachers are out of their element thrust from their classrooms to clouds unknown. Twenty-first-century learning hit hard and fast for those who deemed technology unapproachable two decades into the century. We cannot comfort or care for our students. Unemployment is the highest-ever and who knows when it will recover. Our communities are going to pull together from a distance. We will educate our children, no thanks to internet safety or educational leadership provided to prepare most of our communities. Our ‘internet schools’ are not fully secured. We have abandoned equity in education. We mourn our dead in wartime body bags, from afar. Bloody hell, Trump! Congratulations! For 9 weeks, your head was so far up your rump, you screwed the whole country.

Months later, I sit here, “on administrative leave waiting to be fired on my birthday” I was the bad guy who suggested training parents- It’s not our job. I was the bad guy who discussed SEL, it’s not our job. The hell is not! The NY State Computer Science and Digital Fluency standards are based on the lenses of humanity. The same humanity suggested in the researched T3 Framework (Magana, 2017, 2020). But, my computer science knowledge was mocked. The systemic issues of education are based upon not growing in scholarship. Some educators of educators at state regional information centers stopped learning so long ago, they are behind the schools, and behind the times, pedaling like hell to make up lost ground. Our teachers have Master’s Degrees in leadership and technology, our tech leaders have Bachelor’s degrees and canceled teacher certifications for lack of follow-through and use.

9 Weeks. Some of us saw this coming. Some of us were silenced.


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