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COVID-19 and teaching

COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the rise again, and it's not just old people. People in their '40s and '50s are getting sick. Hey, I'm 50! I may have actually had it, because I had some suspicious mild symptoms in May. Even if I did have it, who knows if I have immunity, and if so, how strong it is, and how long it will last? Even if I were to have an antibody test, I would have little confidence. Following diocesan guidelines, CTK school will be taking temperatures of faculty every morning, but it's entirely possible to be an asymptomatic spreader, so I'm not sure what the point of it is. It's all a bit daunting trying to figure out how I'm going to teach kids to sing in this situation. I guess the worst case scenario is that we'll focus on reading ability and theory for a while. Maybe we can learn some chant through listening to recordings while they read the notation. This is uncharted territory for all of us; it's going to take creative thinking and much cooperation with trusted colleagues across the country. I do think it's important that we go back to school in person. These kids are shortchanged by online teaching. The principal will be making a big effort to get parents more involved in their child's education. After all, the Catechism says that parents are the primary educators of their children. It's hard when they are working multiple jobs and may not have the knowledge themselves to help fully. But I pray that their love and dedication for their kids will come through.

COVID-19 is awful, and so many people are suffering in physical and mental health, or have lost their jobs. I am reminded, however, that sometimes beauty can emerge from horrible situations. One of the things I am grateful for is the renewal of personal friendships from the past, and I have more appreciation for the steps along the way. My career didn't follow the trajectory I had anticipated 25 years ago. Life has a way of happening that doesn't go according to plan. I'm not in a plum college position, or in a big church job with a great choir and world-class organ. I'm in Kansas City, Kansas, where I'll be teaching grade schoolers and playing a 7-rank unified Wicks in a church sorely in need of renovation. And it's exactly where I'm supposed to be.

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