I now have an incredible amount of time on my hands and promise, promise, promise that I will backlog all of the posts missing from Peru and my current health situation. But since this blog was originally formed to talk about my adventures teaching abroad, I figured this was a good a time as any to get back to my roots.
On Friday, March 13th, Corona virus hit Uruguay. Despite the fact the government asked people coming from infected countries to self-quarantine for 14 days before interacting with the public, a very self-involved woman living in Milan went to an elite wedding in Carrasco. This “doesn’t apply to me” attitude is so telling of the upper class mentality. I mean of course, how could we deprive this woman a chance to go to the wedding for which she bought her plane tickets?! How dare I even suggest such a thing. Not important the 400+ guests she would be interacting with, including families of all age groups. I have never been so irate at an individual whom I don’t actually know before.
Needless to say, Uruguayans panicked. Shelves were emptied of cleaning supplies, but not toilet paper. We have bidets and just a tiny bit more logic in this country. And the very next day, school was closed and moved to virtual school. Because being an elite wedding of Carrasco, we had numerous of our families attend said event. Logically, our director was not taking any chances. For three days, administration worked tirelessly to create a sound and as painless as possible distance learning plan. Then Monday and Tuesday teachers and support staff worked on creating our own distance learning curriculum via google platforms and other applications.
Things that I saw from my colleagues:
- Colleagues working together to answer questions – our group chats on Whatsapp blossomed with inspiration, silly jokes, and teaching ideas. We became a more collaborative team than I have ever seen.
- Teachers who were not super tech savvy before worked really hard to prepare themselves for the kids.
- Teachers being really creative on how they were going to run classes.
- Administration constantly being positive and telling us that we can do anything because we are professional.
- Teachers helping other teachers out step-by-step with such patience and empathy.
We shared pictures of our work spaces, we made time to get together on google meets several times a day, we offered work out routines, yoga videos and ice breakers for the first day of school. We shared memes and took silly pictures of ourselves. Despite the fact that we were inside of homes (some of us with small children of our own) all over Montevideo, we were closer than ever. It is as if the Corona Virus put us all on the same playing field and now we had to figure out how to work together in our new field to make it a great game for the students. And I am so proud to be a part of the UAS community. I am so proud of our admin who have probably fielded more questions in these past four days than ever before and still kept a calm face for us. I am proud of our faculty who have been completely professional while still being the goofy family that we are. I am so proud of our students who have taken this like champions and not complained once. We are the Toros and no virus will ever knock us down.
But I will also be truthful and say if I ever meet Milan lady, she will get two very explicit middle fingers from me for putting us all through this.