I sent this letter via Canvas Announcements to all my Frostburg State University classes Monday, Nov. 9.
Hello! How are you?
Yeah, I’m panicked, too. Let’s all take a deep breath, please …
hold it a few seconds …
then let it out.
Now, let’s do it twice more.
OK, now you can keep reading.
The last day of classes is only nine days away (yikes!), and two weeks from Thursday is Thanksgiving (double yikes!), by which time (believe it or not) all grades will be in, and our bizarre semester will be over – a semester that has not gone according to plan on any level, a semester that may yet throw some surprises at us, in the final two weeks.
Even so, it WILL BE OVER, and we will have gotten through it, together.
Every day since mid-August – and I mean EVERY DAY, weekends included, no exaggeration – individual students have shared with me their feelings of demoralization and panic and being overwhelmed, have told me about illness and family crisis and financial hardship, have expressed uncertainty and concern about the semester, the election, the pandemic, the university administration, social justice, the economy, their careers, the future in general.
I have been hearing all those same things from Frostburg State faculty, too, and from Frostburg State staff. We all are staggering as we near the finish line of Fall 2020, and no one has been at their best, certainly not me.
I’ve been trying all semester to accommodate individual students who have found themselves in difficulty, amid the unprecedented circumstances in which we all find ourselves, because I know exactly how they feel. I expect to do even more of that in the next two weeks, as I hear from one panicked student after another, and try to calm each one down a little, and (in the process) calm myself.
In the days to come, you’ll get emails from me as I post final assignments, grade outstanding ones, and share handouts, links and announcements that may be helpful. I’ll even be chasing some of you to find out the status of things that are missing, or just to see how you are.
But please, as you understandably worry about practically everything else in the next two weeks, try not to worry about your grades in my class. If you’re doing the work and participating in our online community, you’ll be fine. I will do my best to penalize no one for my steep learning curve in adjusting to our first online-only semester, nor for the state of our campus/region/nation.
If I can help any of you with anything, whether it’s class-specific or not, please let me know – not just this month, but over winter break, and next semester, too. More than you know, you have all helped me through this difficult semester, and I promise that my interest in you will not end at Thanksgiving.
So. Are we ready to finish this thing?
OK, let’s start by taking a deep breath …
holding it a few seconds …
then letting it out.
Twice more …
All righty, back to work! For me, anyway. I’ll update you soon, but in the meantime, thanks for all, stay safe, wear your masks, avoid crowds – and good luck! I believe in us; I believe in you.