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Opinion / Program Design, Development, and Quality / Sustainability

Existential Crisis

man standing at the edge of a cliff

“Feelings of loneliness and insignificance in the face of nature are common in existential crises.” This is the sentence I tracked when I Googled “My job is being disrupted.” I saw a picture of a man in a suit standing on a rock on the edge of an ocean. In this case, the ocean is not the force of nature that makes us feel insignificant. It’s each other. This virus that we may or may not be carrying inside us is a force of nature for which we have not prepared.

People who work in the people business – serving people, attending to people, teaching people, caring for people, keeping people safe and secure and healthy – we have been challenged to figure out how to do our jobs, serve our missions, and fulfill our purpose during this time of isolation. I have been serving the California expanded learning community for 28+ years, and it has always been based on “line of sight.” Physical supervision. You can’t manage a kid you can’t see.

That has all been turned on its head. Virtual expanded learning is the future. It scares me to say that because I have no idea what it looks like or how to do it and I’m supposed to be an expert in this field. This field that no longer exists. As we knew it.

girl wearing virtual reality gogglesIt is a brave new world, my friends. The first people who put their plans on paper and prove that they are engaging students virtually will dictate the future to all of us who are just too freaked out to get focused and productive. I have faith in Millennials. Enough of them have bought in to the “peace and love” vibe of the Baby Boomers to ask themselves how they can be of service. And they are the best equipped to save us.

2020 feels like the worst possible year for a 5th or 6th grader (like mine) transitioning to middle school, or an 8th or 9th grader transitioning to high school, or worst of all a senior graduate ending their public school career, but I truly believe that adversity builds character, and those affected by this pandemic will be the most active moving forward. They are feeling it. They will want others to be spared. Pay attention to the Class of 2020.

We don’t yet know how we will be allowed to regather socially. But we do know that we must regather to evolve. We are a social species and despite our proclivity for electronic contact we will need to huddle physically to work out the rules for future social distancing. I don’t see any other possible solution. But then again, I’m 58. I’m having an existential crisis. What do I know? I can’t promise I’ll see any of you again in person.

But I sure hope so…

For breakfast, I had a maple old fashioned with black coffee (for which I wore a face mask) at Donut Star.

Author: @steveamick

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1 Comment

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    Hi Steve, Gayle here. We met at several BOOST conferences. Great post! I,too, am learning to work the “new normal”. Perhaps it is a form of semi-retirement. Who knows? I am coping well so far. I’ll go into the office biweekly to check on things. My daughter, age 14, a freshmen, is missing her school, teacher and friends. At on Distance Learning may not be her cup of tea.

    For breakfast, I had a coffee, instant oatmeal, and a breakfast sandwich.

    Take care

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