Monday, September 7, 2020

Fear of the Unknown

Summertime is one of the many perks of being at teacher.  For a glorious two months, we have no schedule except for the one we set for ourselves.  Most summers, my partner and I would take a family-oriented trip and one just for ourselves while doing our best to sneak in 1-2 camping trips.  This summer is different.  We're in the middle of a pandemic, and have no plans to be getting on an airplane!  In fact, I'm even avoiding public transportation.  That being said, tomorrow, I am supposed to be returning to work.

In New York City, the plan is to offer a hybrid model to any student whose parents request it.  This means that in most cases the student will attend classes in person roughly twice per week, and learn online at home the rest of the time. This doesn't alleviate parent's 5 days/week childcare need and requires me to report to work  Monday through Friday, week in and week out.  For many reasons, I don't feel safe.  I also don't feel that the city can finance the opening of the buildings due to the recent budget cuts.  Plus, without more federal funding flowing to the state, we'll be facing layoffs as well.  Now, this isn't a "state of the schools" blog post, so I am not going to get into the ins and outs of why I believe reopening at this time to be a catastrophe.  We'll save that for the newspapers.

The truth of the matter is that I really do expect us to be fully remote at some point, though I don't know how we'll get there since currently an agreement has been reached.  At one point the teacher's union was even threatening job actions if necessary to prevent unsafe school reopening.  This could have even involved a strike.  I have to admit that would have felt like a total bad-ass if I had participated in a teacher's strike!  All jokes aside, a strike is a very serious matter.  In New York, we have this crazy little thing called the "Taylor Law" which makes it illegal to strike.  The ramifications can be very severe.  Our Union President could have faced jail time, and we could have lost two days of pay for every one day labor is withheld.  There are other sticky bits involved with striking because of the Taylor Law, but the loss of pay alone places a lot of pressure on the teachers involved.  

A recent Federal Reserve survey suggests that roughly 40% of American adults cannot cover a $400 emergency. If there was a strike accompanied by the above indicated financial penalty, there could be real problems for some educators that were simply doing what they felt was right for the safety of their students, colleagues, and themselves.  Each individual must do what's right for themselves.  Fear for lack of money shouldn't be prohibitive, and yet it frequently is.  Fear is caused by resistance.  If we're experiencing resistance, we aren't in flow.  As a Law of Attraction girl, I fully believe in the flow of money.  I do feel that there is a certain amount of flow happening for me within this situation.  I feel relatively calm.  I feel as though the safety of my students, colleagues, and myself will be protected.  I will take action as it arises.  The money will be there for me.  My partner and I are both teachers, so if this strike had actually happened, we could both lose pay.  I felt complete peace about the financial aspects of this possibility.  We've been piling up money for a long time because that's the action we've been inspired to take for the last year or so.  In fact, we're saving the majority of my take-home pay. While it wouldn't be my first choice to use that income to offset a loss of income due to the Taylor Law, we were prepared to do just that.  I have peace about it.

While I find the process of saving money to be really, very exciting, I realize there are those that do not.  I would challenge you all to search yourselves to answer the question "What would make me feel at peace if there was potentially a disruption in my income stream?"  For me, this loss of income could be a potential teacher strike, for others, it is a COVID-related furlough or even layoff.   Having a pile of money saved has always served me well.  While I enter into the unknown, I will continue to save.  This isn't a sophisticated strategy.  It's really simple.  Right now my need is simple, and it makes me feel peaceful.  If you haven't started yet, now is the time. If you have already experienced a loss of income, search yourself.  What would make you feel more at peace financially? How can you pick up some income or reduce some expenses to get there?  There's no time like the present.   

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