COVID-19 Remote Teaching and Work Resources
I hope that this writing finds you well.
As we all know, we have found ourselves in uncharted water. I don’t think any of us could have imagined, even a few short months ago, that our present reality would be as it is… a reality in which we are learning to simultaneously balance migrating work online, while integrating a new home paradigm with loved ones- for an undetermined amount of time- in support of “social distancing,” to care for our neighbors and ourselves. We now must now wrangle with a conclusion to the spring semester in which we are unable to physically interact with students and colleagues, to move about in the spaces we’ve always moved in, and to engage with our community in the ways we’ve always engaged.
I have heard from many of you, and as I have heard from you, common themes have emerged. We are worried for our health and the health of those most vulnerable among us- many of whom are family members. Will we be able to continue the same degree of work productivity while we are having to simultaneously care for children, or teach those children, in the absence of school? Will we be able to do what we need to do with unfamiliar technologies and with unfamiliar modes of communication? Will we be able to maintain the relationships and interactions so vital to our emotional and psychological well-being? Will we be able to effectively handle this situation?
Colleagues, not only are we doing so, but we’re discovering unexpected benefits through all of it. Taking a moment to introspect, it’s possible to see that now is a good time to look at our lives through new lenses. It is a time to regroup and regenerate, while learning new ways of being and doing. It is a time to learn how to “distance socialize” instead of “social distance,” and a time to learn how to remote teach in the absence of a physical group of students, while still maintaining the passion and excellence we have always strived for. It is a time to stop and to realize that, perhaps, some of the routines and habits we had weren’t the best, and a time to reevaluate where we invest energy and priority. It is a time to learn how to make the time we have most efficient, how to thrive in new conditions, and how to take care of ourselves in a way we might not have before. I know that it is an easy thing to allow worry to eat away at the edges of life, fraying the boundary of what is secure and known, but I don’t believe this is the time for that.
UNG’s Center for Teaching, Learning and Leadership has been actively engaged in creating and compiling a list of resources to provide support and encouragement for everyone – faculty, staff, students, community members, and friends – to move beyond surprise to productivity. We’re looking at ideas that have been written and suggested, putting together the information that is most helpful in our current circumstances… information about wellness, strategies for remote instruction, time management, staging the workspace, and perhaps most importantly, mitigating stress during this time. This information will be available on the University Relations hub https://ung.edu/remote-life/, and can also be accessed from the CTLL web page https://ung.edu/center-teaching-learning-leadership/index.php.
Going forward, we recognize that although this time is challenging, unknown, worrisome and stressful, there is simultaneously great opportunity for growth, renewal, exploration, and expansion of all things. We live in a time in which remote work, distance socializing, and distance instruction are possible. I am incredibly thankful for that, as I am for the talents and gifts each of you bring to our community, as colleagues and as friends. We are in uncharted water, but we are not adrift. We are setting a course and moving ahead together. As you hoist the mainsail, please contact us at any time for support or assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is UNG.
Interim Director, Center for Teaching, Learning and Leadership