There’s been a lot of talk among some people in higher education (mostly not instructors currently trying to teach in a remote format) that this is a great opportunity to make big changes in how instructors teach. Normally, I’m someone who likes to push for change and I can get very frustrated with how slowly this can happen at a university, but I disagree with those “it’s time for a change” voices. I think it’s time to lay the ground work for change.
I doubt that any teacher at any level of education is thinking, “I want to make big changes to how I teach right now.” I also doubt that any is thinking that now is the perfect time to quit their job and try something completely different. Now is not the time for a major change, but it is a great time to be starting to think about those changes, and laying a foundation to build off of once we get through the COVID-19 panedimic.
For my unit at the university, and similar units throughout higher education, this is an opportunity to show instructors across the institution the level of support and knowledge we bring to the table. This will open the door for us to work with them when they are beyond the treading water stage.
Businesses that are paying workers who can’t work, paying workers who can work more than their usual pay, doing all they can to support their employees and customers are building good will with those people. I’m carefully watching how businesses I’ve used are handling this. Those that don’t care for their workers won’t be getting my business anyone, while those who are, may get more business from me in the future. We’re not spending a lot of money right now and major companies know that. How they treat people now, lays a foundation for whether people will utilize those businesses in the future.
People in many places are still coming out of the “deer in the headlights” stage and moving into that treading water. The unknowns, the sick family and friends, the job losses, and here in Saskatchewan the delay of spring, will likely keep people in that stage for awhile.
Right now is the time to support ourselves and others to get through this. Exercising, calling friends, learning something new, ordering a book from an independent store, setting long-term goals, are all things that we can be doing right now. They are all good for us and those around us. They are good things to do, but they also lay the foundation for you to do something active with family and friends, go for a coffee and buy a book, pick up a new hobby or career, and make changes in your life, your organization, and your community once we’re through this.