Saturday, September 05, 2020

A New Phase part 2


Covid 19 has been a huge problem for everyone, for many different reasons.  I think it was first recognized back in January, but it was assumed by many it wouldn't be so bad here.  By March it was realized by most it was growing into a huge problem, except for our President who still claims it will just go away and was never really a problem anyway, even as we are approaching hundreds of thousands of deaths.  At the moment there is no cure, no vaccine to prevent it, no real treatment if you get it.   On the plus side, fatality is only around 2 or 3 percent, but if you are one of the people who dies, that probably still seems too large.  Those most likely to get it and die from it are the elderly, but anyone can get it.  Right now the best preventative is wearing a face mask in all public places, and washing one's hands frequently, but a lot of people just don't want to behave that way.  

Not surprisingly, a lot of colleges panicked. Large numbers of students, close quarters- a recipe for trouble. Over spring break (March) we were informed by email that we needed to go to remote online learning for a few weeks, but send us lesson plans for four.  And a week later they told us don't come back at all.  Students got it worse than the professors- thrown out of dorms immediately, given a scheduled day to come in an get their stuff, and on that day told forget it, just go home.  As a result, many students couldn't get to the art materials they had purchased, leaving us to tell them, just do the best you can with whatever you got.  That fits in with artistic traditions, which include using all kinds of materials, in all kinds of places.  With museums closed, we had to come up with an alternate written assignment (done), and most other arts were closed. My studio building in Ocean Grove had to cancel all classes, groups, and theater use, but we artists were classified as "essential workers" and allowed to keep using our space for personal use. Supermarkets were also seen as essential and stayed open, often with odd rules (see my last print). But laws closed many restaurants and bars, and other stores.  With restrictions, many local restaurants were able to have some outdoor dining and take out.  In late summer, following a series of inexplicable power failures, I got to eat out for the first time in many months, when my parents took me out to the outdoor dining (under a huge tarp, tables well spaced) at a local place. It was all very good, and my leftover made a good meal a few days later.

I believe there was a plan to let restaurants open again (with restrictions) for July 4th, but that got called off.  I heard there might be something like that this weekend (Labor Day is the last summer holiday), but I don't know if it happened.   Lucky for me, I am a decent cook

Now it's September and things are just as bad.  The pandemic is still raging, and the economy is the worst it's been since the Great Depression, though at least toilet paper is easier to find. (for months it was in very short supply for no reason) As I wrote last time, colleges have long wanted to get rid of faculty and go with computer based education, and this helped accelerate that process. I was scheduled to teach a hybrid class- 3 weeks online, then several in the classroom, then a month back online.  Meanwhile, schools all over the country have had to cancel classes and send students home due to corona virus outbreaks, so I wonder if the meetings will ever happen. I was taken off the class, so I'll never have to deal with that.

So I need to find a new source of income. The thing I know best is teaching art and I could start right away, if there is a place teaching. Unfortunately, all colleges have stopped- schools are afraid to hold classes, and students are afraid to take them.  Just a few weeks ago, when I still had my hybrid classes, I received emails (against the rules in the new online system) from two students, asking if they could just do it as online.  After I checked, I had to tell them no.  One dropped immediately.  If the pandemic continues to rage, they may get their wish anyway.

My mother did some looking online and found job listings for adjunct teaching jobs in my areas of experience, at a local community college.  I'd have no problem with that, except that I doubt the jobs actually exist.  I went to the school's home page, where there was a big notice that all in person classes were cancelled through December,  and these kind of art processes are best taught in person, but if they offered me the class, I'd take the position and the salary, and figure out the methods later. Tracked down a listing through another website (always a bad sign), and found the listings for 3 adjunct art jobs. Identical to three jobs I had applied for at another NJ school 3 years ago, but never heard back from them.  Not looking any better.  As last time, no contact information, just a request for a cover letter, a CV, and transcripts.  No actual deadline. More and more this looks like a fishing expedition and not a job search. On the other hand, it does allow me to send information about myself to a school, and sometimes that is how it works. The job I just had happened when my information was plucked from a file when they needed people in a hurry- had my job interview 3 weeks after the classes started.

I can probably adapt the letter I used when I applied for similar jobs a few years ago, just changing things for the current job, and I always have a CV ready to go.  Transcripts are trickier.  In the old days I used to mail these in with the application, but this is all online.  Normally these come directly from the colleges I attended, and whether it's electronic or paper, the colleges charge for this, and the cost would be about $20.  Perhaps a tolerable price if I know a job will result, but I don't know if this is a real job.  What I am thinking is maybe I can send some high resolution photos of transcripts now, and tell them if they are considering me for a real job, I can arrange the others.  Similar to what I did with the video submission and my puzzle images- take the largest size digital image I can.  Just had to find the original transcripts.  Normally I keep all my teaching stuff in a particular box (slides, transcripts, etc), but when I searched that box a few days ago- nothing.  After a while I realized where they were- with my diplomas. (several years ago I was informed that my college job would end if I didn't show them all my transcripts, diplomas, recommendation letters, etc, which seemed strange for a job I had been working for 7 years at that point, but this is how it is when you work for the state- someone decides something and their go to method to get it is to threaten you with job loss or jail if you don't provide it immediately; I got copies of the letters from the office I had submitted them to when I started, and brought the rest of the stuff in to have copies made)  I found them about 2:00 am, and the next day one of my tasks in the Studio was taking my large file photos of them.

Just pinned them up to my tack wall and took close up large photos of them. The problem was that I could only find them from two schools, but it was a start. Back home I downloaded and edited the photos, and while they looked about the same as the original documents, the printed text is still very small.  Today I found the 3rd transcript, so maybe tomorrow I will try to shoot them again, see if I can get a better one.  There is no given deadline for this, and no one will be around through the holiday weekend, so a few extra days won't hurt.


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