Weekend reading

One thing you should have while in quarantine, is time to do some in-depth, thought provoking reading. During my time as a librarian, one of my greatest laments is that people of all ages have given up reading newspapers and magazines. Unlike televised reports, which rely on sensationalism for attention, highlight information in bullet points for efficacy and tend to focus more on the personalities involved, written articles can be more nuanced and in-depth, giving us a better understanding of the complex issues that dominate our times.

Let’s just take for example the Coronavirus Pandemic that we are all confronting right now. This one news story alone is about a virus, how diseases are transmitted, economics, health care, social infrastructures, government preparedness, international politics, personal isolation, and much more.

Nowadays, most students instantly turn to Google when doing “research”, but this strategy may lead them to online resources that are questionable at best, and/or propaganda at worst. One thing I have adopted over the years is to be sure I name my sources for my students when I am talking about something. This is especially true when I am talking about information I have read in a newspaper or magazine. Many young people today have very little experience with or exposure to print sources, and so they can’t be blamed for not knowing the names of reputable magazines.

You don’t have to be a subscriber to have access to many quality articles from print magazines that offer their content online. Some sites use cookies to limit you to four or five full access articles per month, but many are also available without such restrictions. While you might be tired of hearing about Coronavirus or COVID-19, below I offer a handful of articles that offer a different perspective on what we are dealing with.

Take a moment this weekend to read. And stay inside.

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you find something useful.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2020. All rights reserved

March Quick Hit: Quarantine Edition

Hello Hillie Nation. It has been several months since I last posted. Before the state-mandated shut down, I had been out on sick leave dealing with medical issues, which are now on hold due to the Coronavirus Pandemic that has taken over the planet.

During my time away, (two and a half months, so far) I have basically been in quarantine, since my family lives in another state and my wife and two boys were in school during the day. While some of my energy has been devoted to my physical therapy, I would say much more has been focused on maintaining my mental well-being. This doesn’t make me an expert in dealing with any of this, just an expert on what has been working for me. Here are six things that I have found useful during my time at home:

  1. Keep a schedule; it does not have to be set in stone, but you should try to have some regularity in your day-to-day life. Don’t ignore the power of habits during this time away from your “normal” life. Depending on what you are dealing with, you may already be in your new “normal”. It’s going to feel different, even uncomfortable, but you’re going to have to find a way to build a life around it, so start now.
  2. Keep a journal/ notebook: maybe this is just one of those things I always do anyway, but I find that writing down how I am feeling or what I am doing is really useful for tracking changes, and growth. Especially when day-to-day changes are minor, it is difficult to feel like you are accomplishing anything or advancing in any way. A journal or notebook allows you to pick up on little things that are changing. It also gives you a place to write down your “To Do” lists and keep a track of your routine.
  3. Do for others; the worst part about my own medical hardship is that it limits my ability to help others. As a father, husband and teacher, so much of my identity and feelings of self-worth come from my helping others. While my medical condition has severely limited my mobility, this makes it even more important for me to do the little things I can still do for those I love and care for. It also takes my mind off of my own struggle for the time being.
  4. Accept the bad days; especially during times that are drawn out and painful, it is impossible to remain optimistic and sunny all the time. I don’t care who you are, you are going to feel beat some days. That’s okay. You need to cry and kick and scream. You need to be able to express the grief and anguish that comes with dealing with hardship. It’s why the myth of Sisyphus still resonates with us today.
  5. Reflect on what matters; not to get too philosophical, but sometimes life has a way of interrupting our regularly scheduled programming. It’s a reminder that we are not as in control as we like to believe. It is during these times of crisis that we learn about our own character. Embrace this as an opportunity to realign yourself.
  6. Keep growing intentionally; whatever else may happen, you are going to have to make a life of it. Change is the only constant in life and with it can come growth. But don’t be passive about it, especially now that you are forced to stay at home. No one is going to come and shake you out of your Netflix binge or your video gaming marathons. You are going to have to direct yourself and make sure you are learning, practicing or mastering some useful skills.

During the shutdown, I will continue to post weekly. I have over two hundred past posts with over a thousand links to articles and online resources. I will try and highlight online tools available to students and teachers, as well as updating links to current information regarding the Coronavirus, our response as educators and more.

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you stay safe during this crisis.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2020. All rights reserved