Long story short, everybody who tries to teach face-to-face at my school will be punished, and every effort will be made to push everybody into online learning until, at the very least, summer of 2021







I’m working with certifiable nutcases.

P.S. In this post, I quoted verbatim what people said in a professional meeting among educated, professional adults today.

40 thoughts on “Nutcases”

  1. “push everybody into online learning until, at the very least, summer of 2021”

    They seriously think they’ll still have jobs by then? ….. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!! Show them no sympathy when they whine about that.


    1. You have no idea. These people, I honestly have no words.

      There was a long discussion on how to bring more police onto campus and sic them onto students who don’t wear masks. To clarify: people think it’s a good idea. Because we have to save lives!!!!


        1. I also want to mention that we have a large African American student population, a growing Hispanic student population, and a sizeable number of undocumented immigrants. I’m sure they will feel extremely comfortable on a campus that I teeming with police.

          We all saw the horrific video from Minnesota today. Obviously, not all police are insane murderers. But I wouldn’t blame students from Chicago South Side for not enjoying the increased police presence.

          With all of the talk about diversity and inclusion, that’s about the least inclusive thing you can do.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. In a dept zoom meeting I mentioned that at least exams could be taken at school in large auditoriums or gyms, to avoid plagiarism or cheating, and the chair said that the idea has never crossed anybody’s mind. This shows how we will never get out of our holes.

    At least where I work (perhaps this is not original, I follow as little as possible covid-related news), the rationale for doing « remote teaching » next Fall is the fear of a second wave that may again ruin the semester. Consequently, it is better to go online even if everything is under control this summer.

    Stores are open, but not schools; day camp will be open this summer, but universities will do remote teaching. This is such a scary world.


    1. It is part of the push to turn us all into online diploma mills. If all this other stuff is open, it isn’t school that will kill us.


      1. RIGHT?? I’m so glad you agree. I’m starting to feel like a voice clamoring in the desert. If we do this until summer of 2021, we are so not coming back from that. It’s a gigantic mistake.

        And yes, everything else is opening. How is a college, where most people are in a zero-risk group, more dangerous than stores, salons, bars, restaurants? This is illogical.


        1. It will kill shared governance, too. If we’re online a whole year, administration will make megachanges in how things are done and it won’t be easy to stop them. Plus I am sure they are meeting in person at small “social” gatherings in homes, and planning it all. And no, this is not paranoia, it’s based on observation of the typical m.o. All of this has to be resisted. Even at my father’s retirement facility in Calif. they are loosening up — still not letting people visit except to wave through glass, still asking residents to stay home, but since they’ve got no cases they are letting them get together in larger groups (with masks), reopening common spaces for use, etc. And they’re very tight and have no cases, either among residents or staff.


          1. Another good point.

            And as for resisting. It’s the same thing as ever. I spoke up as much as I could today. One person very timidly supported me. The rest of the colleagues just screamed me down. They are terrified for their lives and that’s that.

            But there’s worse. Colleagues don’t believe there will be more austerity and more budget cuts.

            And no, I absolutely don’t think you are paranoid. I’ve been in this long enough to know that this is exactly how things work. Everybody asks why I’m so down about this but there’s simply no way this ends well. None.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. It shocks me that they don’t believe it.

              What certain admin believe, I’m convinced, is that they can drive all undergraduates online and staff those classes with adjuncts, and keep in person certain graduate programs and labs that create for-profit inventions for corporations. And they think they, as administrators of this, will make yet more money.

              Yes, I’m dark.


              1. That is exactly what will happen.

                I feel like this is all becoming a long episode of Dark Mirror.


        2. Why it is dangerous:
          1- HVAC. Air in sealed buildings circling around with droplets in it.
          2- Constant contact. Dorms, dining halls, classes, then out to the bars. It’s more than you have living at home and going somewhere with people once in a while.
          I’m not saying it’s not, just that I’m not sure how bad, if some precautions are taken, in comparison to the rest of the town, and I could be wrong … I’m really NOT as frightened as most people are of things.

          By the way, speaking of my low fear levels: I seem to have physical courage, I’ve always been OK with going places alone, asking questions of people I don’t know, etc. A psychologist and an acquaintance both thought it must be that I had been through something so terrible at some point, and as a neurotic reaction I now engaged in “risky” behavior. This behavior was going to movies alone, even concerts alone if nobody else wanted to go and it was something I really wanted to see; also driving long distances alone, like when I’ve moved across the country, or the time I was in an NEH Institute at Brown and drove to Providence from New Orleans. I hardly think these activities were “risky” but people did.


    2. I would rather start in person even if national/state policy forces us online again at midterm. I’m even planning courses so such a transition could go as well as possible. But the key to going remote/online successfully is having some kind of relationship with the students for real in the first place. EVERYONE who says online is better, with rare exceptions for plain old taste, has an ulterior motive — their commute is really bad, or something like that. My main issue, though, is that much of what is valuable that happens, does not happen in class but in the halls, in conversations students have elsewhere, perhaps about class, but outside class, etc., and all of this happens in ways you can’t program. Also, once again, shared governance — students, too, have a government and other organizations, and when they talk randomly with faculty they run into, that’s input also. All of this gets bleached out when everything goes online.


      1. Exactly. Man. That’s what education is about. Coming together. When I see my students huddled together, as they do, before every single of my lectures in Contemporary Latin America, trying to figure things out together, helping each other, going over material together, trying to anticipate what will be on the daily quiz – that’s what learning is. That’s such an enormous part of learning. And we are going to rob them of that over a risk that doesn’t exist for their age group.

        I read somewhere recently that a college is a community of conversation. There is no college experience without that.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. How old and sick are your colleagues? How old and sick are the people your colleagues live with?

    You can do plexiglass. Or those masks with clear windows so people can read your lips. Did your university build any fancy new dorms recently? Because that will be an issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They were telling stories – I don’t know how true those are – of parents who are calling on the phone, begging not to murder their children by returning to class.

      Mind you, there’s no talk of forcing anybody to teach on campus. The fight is over whether the unafraid should be forced not to return to campus because that would unleash mass death.


      1. “The fight is over whether the unafraid should be forced not to return to campus because that would unleash mass death.”

        I can understand someone with little education or few reading skills being terrified by the endless parade of scare-scold press conferences, but academics should be able to apply their basic professional research skills to this situation to assess the lack of serious danger for almost everyone under age 60. One strongly suspects that these folks are afraid of being shown up as the cowardly narcissistic weenies they surely are.


        1. And yet… the 90% of people walking around my working-class neighborhood’s Walmart maskless seem totally unconcerned. It’s the most educated and most affluent people I know who are the most scared.

          My working theory is that it is the educated and affluent who’ve been hiding out in their houses, getting their groceries delivered. The rest of us have been going to work every day, same as always, coming into contact with the unwashed public, and we haven’t seen waves of our cohort struck down with illness and untimely death. It has very conspicuously NOT happened.

          Every time I mention this, my more-educated friends jump in to say, basically “It’s a good thing you’re SO VERY LUCKY that nobody you know has died! But that attitude is ENDANGERING EVERYONE!!” The disconnect is stark.


          1. I think you are right. People have stayed in a strict lockdown for 2,5 months. They’ve been isolated and watching CNN all day. They imagine that the second they step outside, they will immediately perish. I have no idea what it will take to pry them out of their hiding places after all this.


            1. We’ve created an entire class of agoraphobics.

              We should definitely ban mail-in voting. It’ll limit the electorate to people who have a basic minimum level of common sense and courage.


              1. Honestly, where I live, the crush of people at Walmart is much much thicker than at a voting poll. It’s extremely easy to get people to stand in line 6 feet apart at a voting poll.

                All of these stories about how extraordinarily hard it is to vote in the US are some form of a neurosis.

                And I agree that people will now have to be forced to go outside. It’s very sad.


              2. My favorite part of that “you should be grateful you’re so lucky” conversation is the part where they then claim that the reason we’re so fortunate is because all the virtuous people such as themselves are staying in and wearing masks and stuff.

                They’re really attached to this story about how they are saving the world by using DoorDash.

                Liked by 1 person

          2. I do not like the condescension at all, oh you’re just so lucky, or you are only not sick because I stayed home, etc., and I do of course notice that those who stay home are those who can. There are also a few faculty with far less elite roots than I who are terrified, and their non faculty non elite non rich friends are terrified, and they are all doing the strictest version of quarantine. And a few people who have underlying conditions they think are severe enough that they need to be very worried, and they are seriously hiding out, too, saying they could die and it is the first time they’ve felt faced with the possibility of dying, despite their underlying condition that is so serious. Of course it is a sign of Privilege to say they’re overdoing it, or that they just want to lord it over someone and they’ve finally found a way and are taking it.

            The place where the precautions make sense are in my father’s retirement home; they’re being very strict and they have no cases, so that’s great! even though boring. Also the thing I am not sure about regarding the virus is HVAC. I’m not afraid to go teach a class, I only have a few hours of class and office hours a week, most of my time is spent in my office alone answering email and grading and things like that. I don’t want to go back to that just yet, even though it’s very convenient to leave all that work there, do it there, because I don’t trust the air in the building not to be full of the virus and I don’t want to spend a full 40 hours a week in there . . . yet still, I’d be fine with 12 and I could do that, just take the rest of the work home.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I’m totally in favor of people who are fearful – because of age, underlying conditions, anything – staying in quarantine for as long as they need. Totally in favor.

              What I don’t get is why they want to force those of us who want to come out to stay locked up. I don’t want to force them, why do they want to force me?

              And if anybody pipes up about overloaded healthcare system, I’m going to blow because I was on the phone for an hour today with a friend who is a nurse at a hospital close by and who was fired before Memorial Day. Our local hospital might not survive after standing empty for 2,5 months.


              1. The thing about some masking and others not, though, is that half measures don’t do it. I’m not a masker, so technically (I suppose) should not be speaking up for maskers, but I see the point.


              2. Why, though? Young people are not at risk, so why should they be masked? The older ones can wear masks to protect themselves but what’s the point of putting them on people who are not at risk.


              3. The masks are to protect others. You could be infected and spreading it and not realizing it, so you wear a mask. Most masks will not protect the wearer, which is why the others must wear masks. Others wear them to protect you; you wear them to protect others.


            2. Great point about HVAC, by the way. I absolutely need to talk about this to colleagues who are in at-risk groups. I do feel like it’s a risk to spend a lot of time in the office especially since our offices don’t have windows that open, so no fresh air since the windows were locked “for safety” in 2011.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. The HVAC thing drives me batty. We just lost our house insurance over it (“we” because my sister owns the house). Our house is small– just a little over 900 sq ft I think– and has never been equipped with central air. We are big believers in fresh air and climate acclimation– we keep the windows open most of the year, and my kids will play outside long past the point where their friends have wilted from the heat and retreated indoors. The place is well-situated to catch the prevailing breeze, and a few box fans make up the difference. During the brief parts of the year where we need heat or A/C, we use them only at night, and only in the bedrooms (this is FL, after all, the kitchen pipes aren’t going to freeze!). Portable units are enough. HVAC is very expensive, and it doesn’t fit our lifestyle. And we can’t get homeowners’ insurance because our house doesn’t have central heat and air. That thing you can’t see in the text is my entire family leaning out the windows to salute the insurance company with our middle fingers. No, we don’t wish to spend thousands of dollars to make our house just as unhealthy as everyone else’s.


              2. Wow, that’s horrible! I don’t get this at all. Why do they care if you’ve got HVAC?

                I’d perish without the AC because I can’t exist in temperatures over 72F but I don’t get why people who don’t want it should be forced to get it.


              3. There are a couple of reasons:

                1) Window A/C units and plug-in heaters are more likely to start a house fire than central heating and cooling units. Over the winter, our neighbor’s house burned down because his dog knocked over a heater in the garage. It’s a thing (especially if you have pets! We don’t, but the insurance company can’t control that). We stick to an infrared unit, because they are so much safer.

                2) Since the hurricane, insurers are looking for any possible reason to deny coverage to people in our area. They lost big $$$ here, and they are seriously skittish. In addition to the lack of HVAC, they also cited a 1×2 foot section of missing vinyl siding on the back of the house, and said we’d have to get all new siding before they’d insure, which we could not figure out at all :/


  4. Calm down, all stores and shopping malls will be opened in Québec (outside Montréal and Joliette) next June 1st.

    The situation in Québec is way worse than Illinois/outside Chicago.


  5. Long time, no see, all! ….. Well, I wanted to return to f2f and my university is doing so. But now, after they explained how this would happen, I wish we were online. We all have to wear masks the entire time we are in class (which greatly reduces audibility); everyone has to sit six feet apart (so small group conversations are not permitted); and we have to agree to have all our classes recorded so that students who are “too scared” to return to class can watch us (so creepy).

    I didn’t love online teaching but I think my classes actually turned out fairly strong. This mockery of f2f teaching is worse than online in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, it’s so great to have you back, Evelina! Nature is really healing, as they say. 🙂 This makes me very happy.

      That’s exactly the model we are rolling out. It’s what you describe plus an increased police presence on campus so that unmasked students can be removed by force. So I’m thinking of going back online because at least we can all show our faces, there’s no police, and we don’t have to be recorded. And I don’t have to prepare two versions of each class.

      I’m very upset about this.


      1. We aren’t allowed any choice unfortunately. We have to teach in the abomination of a classroom environment that I described above. If I were given a choice, I would choose online at this point. It is very frustrating to feel so controlled and pinned down to a kind of teaching that I know will fail.


        1. I’m leaning towards choosing the online format. And it’s very frustrating because I had such great classes prepared for next semester. Students were excited! I was excited.

          What a disgrace. And yes, it will absolutely fail.


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