Photo by Brandon Nickerson from Pexels

…ah shoo…eschew…Aa-aa-ah-CHOO.
Tissue isn’t the issue, when a single sneeze can silence a room.

An aural interruption that sounds like epidemiological gun fire.
Germ warfare is back, hoarding new soldiers, for its big battle.
Time slows while an entire space holds its collective breath.
Whose side are you on? Can I trust you? Can I be trusted?
Pandemic enters our discourse and gathering spaces.




Without a warning.
Powerless to hold it back.
A natural response is now an attack.
Thoughts racing through every soul within
and without 2 metres distance of the blast radius.

Droplets with unknown destinations and origins dispersed.
Droplets of anxious sweat forming on foreheads from what’s not known.
Distancing, dreading, decisions to make, do I have 14 days to give?
Knowing how 7 days without interaction makes one weak.
Could 14 make me stronger? Time to wait, write, and seek.

So sick…

photo by Gerd Altmann

…of being sick, so I’m saying so long to sickness.

Imagine if it was as easy as saying, “Okay sickness, I’m sick of  you! You are dismissed. Don’t let the nostril hit you on the way out! Take whatever malicious marauding microbes you’ve been amassing in my body and vamoose.” Admittedly, there have been many times when I’ve ignored my own body’s warning signs to rest while believing that I was in control and that nothing was wrong.

“Thank you for your input/output body, but I’ll tell you(me) when it’s time to be sick. In the meantime there are things to do and being sick is not one of them.”

Mind over matter, right?

I know there are many folks out there who can ignore the early warning signs that they are sick while others go into lockdown at the first sniffle or sneeze. Either response would be considered as “normal” in the past. Yet, things are not normal in light of the extraordinary times we are living. So it’s au revoir Normal!

[This just in!]

Normal has a fever and will be self-isolating for an indeterminate amount of time. Meet the New Normal which will be filling in while and or if Normal recovers. As its first order of business, New Normal will be to evolve and disperse with the same ugly unpredicatability as COVID 19. Cue a frenzy of hoarding, panic, misinformation and speculation. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Back to my point about being sick of being sick. 

There have been other times when I’ve said, “not now”, and powered through many hectic/hazy days at school without losing pace. As teachers, most of us have done just that.  In her recent ETFO blog Illness, Shame and the Educator Marty Complex, Michelle Fenn smacked me on my disbelieving feverish forhead with a reminder that it is not okay to work when you are sick. 

I wish that we each possessed the uncanny ability to rid ourselves of the ailments, maladies, discomforts, and viral invasions that so often set upon us, but we can’t. It is precisely because of this, that using our (ETFO) hard-fought-for sick days is good practice. In doing so, we begin to show society that healthcare is important and it can start with teachers leading the way. 

So as we adjust to Normal’s replacement, and as our schools re-open it will be crucial that we resist our urges to revert to any habits of being workplace martyrs, but actually leaders who recognize how their actions could impact their students, colleagues, and the community. Remember 3 paragraphs earlier, where I wrote,”it doesn’t have to be that way”? It’s true.

Everyone can do their part. Here’s a handy list to help us survive the New Normal;

  1. Stay informed – know the signs and symptoms of this virus. If you’re sick or think you have COVID19 isolate and seek medical attention as quickly as possible.
  2. Wash your hands with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds like you just changed a messy diaper. Scrub a dub dub.
  3. Stay home – avoid public gatherings, spaces, and peak shopping times(no hoarding)
  4. Avoid close contact (keep your distance from people outside of your home)
  5. Offer to help when and where you are able (check in on the vulnerable, donate to foodbanks, tip a grocery store worker/delivery driver/sanitation worker)
  6. Thank those who are working in health care/pharmacies while we all persevere through this outbreak
  7. Check-in with each other to support and encourage community
  8. Take time to learn or try something new. Iron some shirts, sew some buttons back on, try out a recipe or two, clean out your fridges/freezers and cook something with what you find. Send me a photo of your meal and I will add them to this post.

#COVID19 #ETFO #Education


Ten steps too far…the dangerous vilification of teachers in Ontario

This blog is really worth sharing.

As I read through the thoughts and experiences of fellow educators, it strikes me to the core on how much more work needs to be done in order to help an oblivious segment of the public to unlearn some harmful attitudes. As an educator it is all to clear their is a target placed on the backs of our profession. What hurts me the most is that teachers do not deserve to be backed into a corner or villified for fighting for our students nor the future of public education. Neither do teachers have intentions of turning their backs on such a crucial resource or to leave their fates in the hands of elected despots intent on lining the pockets of their cronies. I am proud to stand up to the those living lies and misunderstandings about what we do on behalf of the nearly 2 million students we serve everyday in our province.


It’s February 12th and the education stalemate between teacher unions and the government rages on with little end in sight, as a news release today announced that on February 21st, all four teacher unions will strike together in solidarity.

Labour disputes are common place between any organization that has unionized workers during a renegotiation of a contract – steel workers, automotive workers, miners, government employees, university and college employees and professors, nurses, teachers, police officers, firefighters, etc.

Despite these commonalities, no profession is vilified in labour disputes like teachers. 

For example, there was the advertising scandal care of  “Vaughan Working Families” which was uncovered to be a scam organization of conservative party affiliation which vilified Ontario teachers in three of our province’s largest newspapers: the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail and National Post.

Screen Shot 2020-02-12 at 4.01.35 PM

Then, there are the wonderful columns of the Toronto Sun’s Brian Lilley, trashing teachers left and right…

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A commuter is condemned
to confinement on concrete that knows no
beginning or end.

Crammed [in]conveniently to conveyances
that make roads shimmer and rails thunder,
a massive moving metallic maelstrom

Our community serves out its life by waiting in metal boxes
calling it commuting when really it is us just trying to carry-on
while we crave, consume, and repeat to survive.

Our calm muted wondering when this sentence will be commuted.