Or should Grumpy Old Teacher (GOT) title it Life in These Virtual United States.

Life in these united states by Reader's Digest Association
Either way, a clear rip-off of the feature’s title.

Today GOT experienced one of those hilarious moments of work where an announcement email went out to about 1,000 teachers about a webinar the district was holding at 10 AM.

Most of us were unavailable because we were … um … teaching via our virtual app as we are supposed to. No biggie, the webinar was voluntary, one of those ‘let’s share best practices,’ and it was recorded for anyone who couldn’t be live and wanted to watch it later.

The hilarity erupted as numerous persons replied to the email along the lines of ‘I’m busy with students. Take me off the list.’ It was one of those moments when the divide between the ‘reply tos’ and the ‘reply alls’ came into focus.

Everyone’s email began blowing up. The actions of a few snowballed as more people reacted to say stop it. Even those trying to help by replying ‘stop replying’ went from being part of the solution to part of the problem as those emails went to the thousand and more people replied.

Have you ever tried to teach students when your computer is going ding, ding, ding, ding, ding for about 45 minutes?

Thank Goodness! GOT wasn’t sharing audio from his computer with his students.

However, later reflection brought the realization that this is a teachable moment: how the actions of a few impact everyone. The only proper way that is socially acceptable to stop the crescendo of email responses is to not respond. Good internet manners dictate that practice. Don’t reply all unless your response really has to be seen by everyone. Don’t reply at all when the email was the equivalent of a bulk mail circular sent out by the local grocery store.

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Because nobody wrote a children’s book about a dog named Publix.

That’s what the Covid-19 crisis is like. That’s the reality. We must maintain social distancing and not gather in large groups. Our efforts are working–working so well that some people now deem it unnecessary and question the statistics that are published daily.

It’s working. Don’t be that person. Don’t be the one who flouts the necessary social practices who will renew the community spread. Stay home. Work from home if possible. Walk the streets, run in the parks, but keep your distance.

Or you will be the one blowing up people’s lives with disease and death like the people doing a ‘reply all’ to an email that they could have ignored.

One thought on “Life in These Viral United States

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