Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Coronavirus Remote Education and Dancing 

Day Thirteen thru Seventeen April 3 – 7 Friday thru Tuesday

WOW! An entire 5 days since my last posting, not that I haven’t wanted to, I just have trouble finding the time. The days are blending together. I am working at all hours because it seems as if my work load has tripled. I catch sleep when I can and eat when I am not working.  That said I have been taking exercise breaks, the one thing that keeps me sane and I do go out at least every other day for food shopping and to take a walk. OH and I also take cleaning breaks. When I get tired of sitting, I clean.

Whole Foods is busy but not crowded. We try to go at 7am, which is for Seniors. It still is an entire process to get out of the apartment equipped with gloves, masks, sanitizers, shopping bags and then getting back in having to wipe everything down and re-sanitize all of our items. I am usually ready for a nap by then which of course I can’t take because I need to go online with my 100+ a day elementary school students.

I guess it would be more manageable if that was my only job but I also have another 30 college students between two colleges where I am an adjunct that I am still meeting with live once a week until mid-May and my fitness club job on Saturdays. Of course every school is on a different  online platform. Sometimes I don’t know if I need to ZOOM or Google Meet or Canvas Conference or go on Facebook. Again, it all becomes a blur and as much as I can appreciate the ability of remote technology to bring us all together it basically SUCKS.

As a dance teacher I find all of this very disconcerting. First of all I am sitting way too much. So I have two computer stations one sitting and one standing. That way I can give myself movement breaks if not work breaks. Second I hardly ever go out and I am getting used to it because it is such a pain in the ass to venture out that I’d just rather stay in. I did get access to our roof but I need to get it unlocked every time I want to use it. Oh did I mention that our apartment is 325 square feet and since we are both here all of the time it is starting to feel CrOwDeD.

My fear is that this may not end any time soon and that we may go back to school in September and  still have to practice social distancing. What will happen to school, will we have less students per class or will we just stay online. Will all physical activities be performed 6 feet away from each other. Will we walk single file down one way hallways or will we just go remote and live virtually for extended periods of time. Dystopia is finally a reality.

And I haven’t even broached the issues of the economic and social divide that is so evident in my neighborhood. Whole Foods on one block with a line of people standing 6 feet apart and waiting to go shopping and around the corner the Bowery Mission with a longer winding line with some people practicing social something, but clearly not distancing, waiting to get their meal for the day. Where do homeless people go to shelter-in but on the streets. That is home for many of them and they are just as much a part of this community as I am. Right now, even moreso, because without all the other masses of people to be distractions they are more visible and there very well may be more of them because of current economic circumstances. There are definitely people that I have not seen in this neighborhood before that have recently become more permanent, on the street residents, for the time being anyway.
It just depresses me that we haven’t figured out how to care for our homeless and how to help lift them out of homelessness. It just seems to me to be about the lack of compassionate, insightful, and decisive leadership. We usually get aggressive leadership without the other qualities.

So what do I do? What Can I do? What brings me joy that will uplift me from what seems so tedious right now. I know that dancing does this for me and that right now that is the hardest thing to do because it takes space, time, and connection. So I put on my music, nice an loud, and dance in my chair while grading assignments or I dance while using my standing up computer. I create dances for small spaces. Cleaning becomes a dance. I create videos for my students, both children and adults, and I invite them to dance. I escape to the rooftop and experience unlimited space with more than adequate social distancing and I dance. And when I sit down at my computer to check my students work I get to see them dance because they are sending me photos and videos of themselves doing the lesson I sent them with their brother or sister or entire family and even though I am not there in the flesh,  I am there because I can see them following along with the video I sent of myself doing our class routine. And then I get that one video of one of my Pre-K students thanking me for sending the fun videos and he looks straight into the camera and says “I love you Mister Jannetti” and everything else fades to black.

Peace Out, The Dancing Jedi

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