These are just a few issues of late that have gotten my attention.
The card was postmarked March 17, two days before my birthday. It arrived April 16, a month late in what should have been a simple journey from Westminster to Emmitsburg.
Next, for the second time since December, I received a text from my internet provider telling me that my payment was overdue. Both times, I had not yet received the paper bill. I’m sure I’m not the only one who waits for the bill before mailing my check. There are simply too many online risks and phone scams around for me to feel comfortable paying any other way. Now the U.S. Postal Service is making my mailing preference fraught with risk, too.
The post office is no longer the institution of old, the one that began with men on horseback racing through rain or snow to bring us the mail. A government agency funded by revenues and service fees which are woefully inadequate, it was placed in the hands of Louis DeJoy by President Trump. DeJoy, instead of investigating additional funding options, quickly took actions causing chaos in USPS’ operations. If you’ve been receiving mail ridiculously late, you may be questioning, rightfully, how that contributes to “making America great.”
On a more uplifting note, the Frederick County Health Department’s vaccine clinic at Frederick Community College was so splendidly and efficiently run, at least in my experience, that I wish there were an award for everyone we had contact with as we scheduled and received our Moderna vaccines.
From the friendly volunteer on the phone who helped us schedule the first dose to the volunteers who said, “Congratulations, have a good day” as we left the clinic after our second dose, all contributed to a positive experience. If you were part of that effort in any way, volunteer or otherwise, many, many thanks.
There is no denying that completing the vaccination process lifted my spirits. It gave my husband and I a sense of freedom, and for me, it is a Mother’s Day gift in itself. If you are vaccine-hesitant, think of it this way: Do you know anyone who has polio? By 1979, the virus had been completely eliminated due in large part to the polio vaccine.
Lastly, let’s talk about teachers. They have been accused of late of being lazy or having “gravy” jobs. That couldn’t be further from the truth, even in the virtual learning era.
Virtual learning has been problematic for parents who have had to juggle their work schedules and for students who missed their friends, sports and clubs. Yet as the COVID-19 death count rose, it seemed prudent to do what was necessary under the circumstances. Virtual learning didn’t stop school. It only changed school temporarily, and the logistics of it took planning, trial and error. It certainly took input from parents and students, but it also took input from teachers.
Teachers were constantly on the hunt for new ways to keep their students engaged. They researched and also reached out to each other for ideas, suggestions or articles that would help them make a difference. Yet they still had to prepare lesson plans, assignments, grade papers or projects, and give more time to individual students who needed it. They emailed, called or sent notes to parents, offered encouragement to students, and may also have gotten involved in assisting, yes even virtually, with clubs and fund-raising activities. I don’t see a “gravy” job in that, either pre- or post-pandemic.
On top of all they do, teachers have family concerns just like us. They may need to juggle their work schedules, watch out for their aging parents, and/or take care of young children. Still, teachers like the ones in my family often wake up in the middle of the night with an idea or concern about some aspect of teaching.
Yet they don’t keep doing what they do because they are making mega bucks doing it, they do it because they are dedicated.
When you are inconvenienced, it’s easy to bash teachers, but that is neither right nor fair. Much of the focus from the good teacher who explains to the superior teacher who inspires is on our children. Doesn’t that suggest parents and teachers have something in common?
OK, Current Chatter 101 class is dismissed.
Patricia Weller writes from Emmitsburg and can be reached at email@example.com.