The Challenges of the Pandemic Continue to Mount for Those Most Vulnerable

Struggling with Online Learning
Grace before grades, curious before critical.

You are feeling just a little bit proud today that you are trying to be the kind of instructor who makes students comfortable to be human. Many of your students are struggling and you wonder if they are getting the kind of help that they need.

It is often very difficult to tell if you are connecting to your students over the internet, especially when most prefer to have their cameras off while you are teaching. Lately, however, you have been lucky enough to notice evidence that you are actually connecting a few times, and it is those moments that, if only briefly, fill the gaping hole that so many are lacking without the in person contact that have been so normal in the past.

Today one of those moments showed up when a student, whom you have mostly only pictured in your head as a black square with their name, remain logged on after class to talk. This student confessed that they he had been struggling with anxiety, depression, paralyzing perfectionism, loneliness, and was very often feeling overwhelmed. This student was concerned and worried about how you might respond as their instructor, and you were impressed that they bravely shared that information with you.

You are not sure how many of your other colleagues who can relate, but you certainly can. You understand just how scary it is to open up to an instructor when you are failing a class while the world appears to be falling apart. You let the student know that you consider it an absolute honor, and in your mind a neat miracle, that this student felt they could talk to you, despite the fact that the two of you have never met in-person, despite not having had any opportunities to get to know one another.

Without bragging, you really just want to share a rare fulfilling moment amidst the plethora of frustrating, lonely, helpless teacher feels this semester. You may talk to a bunch of black screens, but those students see you, and you hope they see that you care through your enthusiasm, your preparation, your patience in long silences, your complete lack of disappointment in mistakes made. This one positive experience reminds you that your efforts matters. The time with you is a tiny percentage of their week, and it may not be their priority, but it matters to this one student. And, for now, that is enough.

At the end of this long after class conversation you realized that it is always a bonus when your past personal traumas can help people with their current ones.

Bankruptcy Is a Possible Reality for a Growing Number of Americans
When you factor in the transition your husband is making to a new job after being unemployed for the last three months and the burden seems overwhelming to say the least. Personal injury litigation is still undecided, but in the meantime your family has struggles with the threat of bankruptcy and other long lasting implications. The struggle you face in the classroom would be challenge enough in normal times, but the current learning environment combined with the contract disputes with your husband’s former employer and the need for additional financial services are almost too much to near.

Employment challenges of the past may seem minor as the nation continues to navigate the challenges of the pandemic. From months of unemployment for individuals to the threat of bankruptcy for businesses, these have been some of the most challenging times of this generation. And even as the nation continues to deal with the financial struggles. that so many are facing, they are also dealing with dangerous environmental issues as well. Older schools that have had to deal with asbestos abatement in the past, for instance, are the same schools that may be facing difficult discussions about air quality and ventilation.

Even more than before March 2019 when the pandemic began, there are many people who are more at risk because of the air quality that they face in their homes, their schools, and their workplaces. If you fear bankruptcy and other problems it is important to get the legal help you need soon rather than later.

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