wasting bandwidth since 1999

Finding My Direction

Timstahmer 2021 Sep 21

It has been rather quiet around here lately, both in terms of ranting in this space and the overly-large school district.

When I worked for the system, one golden rule was to avoid making headlines in The Washington Post. Fairfax has done pretty well with that, especially when compared to our friends to the west.

Even with the lack of negative headlines and the sunny outlook being projected by district administrators, very little of this first quarter of the school year has been normal. Almost everyone I know who works in or with schools talks about the stress of trying to navigate the health protocols being use to avoid COVID spikes.

I can’t imagine the kids are not also feeling the same pressure. For most teachers, their mental well-being has take priority over the curriculum. As it should. Everyone just needs to ignore all the crap about “learning loss”.

However, although we’ve been staring at that “light at the end of the tunnel” for what seems like forever, there seem to be some important signs that things may be getting better.

In our area, the number of COVID cases has been steadily declining since late August, with hospitalizations and deaths plummeting. Very few schools in the area have reported major outbreaks (which, of course, would hit the headlines immediately).

Last week the CDC approved vaccine doses for elementary-age children and, while we have some anti-vax nut cases floating around in Northern Virginia, I expect most parents will leap at the opportunity for their kids to get the shot.

By the time we roll into second semester, things should be much improved, maybe even to the point where schools can loosen up some of the pandemic rules and let everyone relax a little.

Of course, any kind of relaxation won’t last long since the normal spring sources of stress, also known as the SOL tests, will begin to loom very soon. The pressure for schools to deliver the numbers will begin to grow as the May standardized testing program gets closer. Which means additional pressure on students and their teachers. It’s too bad nothing could be learned from two years of pandemic schooling.

As for the lack of posting here,1 the cause is a combination of pandemic fatigue and, as with Doug who writes eloquently about Fighting the Fade, trying to figure out where I fit in the world at this point in my life and what I should be doing with my now-abundant “free time”.

But is that anything new? I know I’ve had to reorient my direction more than a few times in the many decades I’ve been alive.I think that’s true of most people, especially following major life events. And, no matter what we tell ourselves about the glories of not working for “the man”, retirement is still a bigger change than many people expect. At least is has been for me.

Anyway, more thoughts on this and other things coming. You have been warned.


The picture, a tent on the playground at the local elementary school, is one outward sign that things are not normal. Although this is the kind of feature that needs to stay after the pandemic passes.

1. My troll probably thinks the recent election played a part in my absence, but no. But he may be right that indifferent nihilists like him are in control and voting doesn’t matter. More thinking to do about that.

1 Comment

  1. Douglas Johnson

    Tim,

    I was hoping to read your thoughts on the outcome of the Virginia gubernatorial election. One reason for the liberal candidate’s loss was a comment he made about parents and their role in determining school curriculum. Thought you might ad insight to that.

    Thanks,

    Doug

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