March 30, 2021– Today was spent supervising high school students in Online Learning. The students are, in the words of David Bowie, “quite aware of what they are going through”, and stuck to the tasks at hand, which have the common goal of recovering academic credit. There was just one hitch, the Internet was down, for at least part of the day, leaving most of the students in two class periods to use their cellular hotspots.
While this ingenuity played out, I was reminded of the Samuel Beckett play, “Waiting for Godot”. Those who are familiar with the play know that Godot, whoever he is, sends a messenger to announce his non-appearance, a day in advance, but never does show up himself. The main characters, Vladimir and Estragon, continue waiting for him, nonetheless.
The students in the latter three classes were able to pursue their work, without resorting to personal devices alone, as the Internet, unlike Godot, made good on its appearance. There were, most likely, a few no-shows among the student populace. There always are.
I have experienced a fair number of absentees, over the years. Usually, when I’ve been patient, the person shows up, eventually, and has a credible story to tell. Sometimes it pans out and sometimes, it doesn’t. Each time, though, my only thought has been: “Make sure you are not following their example.” My parents were always true to their word-Mom still is. The people who matter most in my life are similarly trustworthy.
While being all things to all people is a mathematical and practical impossibility, I would hope that reducing absenteeism, and broken promises, becomes a more widespread goal.