Pandemic Lockdown Day 26: 20 April 2020

Last night, I had a haunting dream. I don’t know the circumstances around it, but I reconnected with someone — to be honest, probably a conglomeration of people — I used to know in my past. It felt comfortable, it felt fleeting, it felt soul-wrenching. This person said we should meet up again after work, as both “he” (in the loosest sense of gender) and I were working in the same place, and this sense of anxiety, and happiness, and excitement, and dread, and every emotion in between roused within me.

I didn’t ever find that person again.

This morning, it was difficult to get out of bed again. I had a long work day ahead of me, which seems more common than not lately, and I was dreading it. Not that that felt like many people would really care.

I got up, had a little breakfast, and got stuck right into work.

Hours upon hours upon hours of lessons uploaded, tests migrated, narrations matched with PowerPoint slide shows, and converting videos to YouTube to have Moodle host them. It just is overwhelming and difficult and time consuming and soul destroying.

Soul destroying because a lot of people don’t give a shit the amount of time, effort, sweat, and tears you put into these things for them.

I had several emails from students going on about this, that, and the other assessment on the new online system. What pisses me off about it all is I only migrated what I was given to the new system. I didn’t write it. I didn’t create the assessments. I’m only the poor schmuck who had to use the tools he had to create a close facsimile of what that paper document was on-line.

One of my colleagues did what I felt was a bit of a “go” at me over one of the questions in a test that had 2 correct answers that I didn’t manage to catch. I caught other mistakes, which I duly let her know, not as a bitchfest but as a heads-up so the real version of those test could be created.

In this case, there are 5 tutors creating these tests. There is supposed to be moderation, even double-blind moderation, and no one picked up there were 2 correct answers.

I pointed this out, and then all the sudden it was apologies all around.

But — and this is a big “but” — I ended up correcting it. I ended up regrading all the wrong answers we got from every single student on that question, which is time-consuming and I honestly don’t have the time for.

Cue the bane of my life, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. You know the type: “We have sweet fuck-all to do while the country is in lockdown, so let’s send you 20 million emails a day and finally call you to have a chat about everything.” I didn’t answer because I didn’t know the number. The person who left a message? I couldn’t understand half of it. I received an email from that person, and guess what? They’re from NZQA. How are we getting along?

I wrote back a terse but explanatory reply. We were fine. We were working really hard to migrate all our stuff to an online platform so the students’ learning wasn’t impacted and learning could keep flowing at a normal pace. I explained all the stuff that we had hashed out as quickly and succinctly as I could. Basically — we are busy, we are fine, we have this under control, please go bug someone else.

I work my butt off a bit more.

Email comes back from NZQA. Oh, there is this super magical form you needed to fill out a zillion weeks ago about shifting to online learning so we can approve the form and the contents for you to be delivering online learning. Bad you for not doing this.

Response from me: Fuck off. Government (read: your bosses) have stated all education providers must shift to online learning. This is a carte blanche authorization for us to move to — you guessed it — online learning. No approval needed. No super magical forms needed. Government says we can only offer learning that way due to bad virus. Not really rocket science to understand.

For good measure, I included they were big screw ups in the earthquakes, they really had no clue what they were doing then, and, in fact, it wasn’t the earth shaking us senseless or the buildings crumbling to the ground that caused us the problems then, but it was NZQA as bureaucrats extraordinaire who damaged us far worse.

And for good measure, I nicely told them to stop being trolls and go back to the dark dank cave they came from and stay there while the serious people who have far too much work to do actually do that work to keep the country running.

Our Prime Minister spoke today at 4 PM about the future of our response to COVID-19.

We knew this was coming. Our Level 4 (the highest out of the 4 levels, a total lockdown) was set to be reviewed today.

If everything was turning out well, according to the original plan, we would shift to alert level 3 at 12 AM on Thursday of this week.

Since Monday is an observed holiday — ANZAC Day — and Saturday is the actual holiday, Government took advantage of 2 holiday days and 2 business days, and they announced we would be dropping our alert level to Alert Level 3 as of 12 AM on Tuesday, 28 April 2020.

I honestly was surprised and shocked. I thought we had another 2 weeks or so to go in Alert Level 4.

The number of new cases today was small — 9 again — and they feel they can manage this.

The next two weeks from Tuesday, 28 April 2020 will be in Alert Level 3. This means we can’t really go to work if we don’t absolutely need to be there, there are more businesses open (including fast food!) but with no face-to-face contact, and that this level is really like Level 4 but a lighter version. I am good with that.

If all goes well after those 2 weeks at Alert Level 3, and the cases drop to nearly none, and there are no major outbreaks (or even minor outbreaks), then we shift to a much freer Alert Level 2. Fingers crossed.

So many people and organizations around the world have said our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Government have got this right. And I have to agree with them.

I have a ton more work to do this week in order to get our students ready for next week’s learning — and this is wash, rinse, repeat — so I need to go now.

Please stay safe, look after yourselves, stay in your bubble, and be kind.