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“Uncertainty is the Word of the Moment” – by Steve Bynoe
Hi, I’m Steve. You may have seen me on other profile segments on Road to Possible and I’m just here talking about life in the pandemic of 2020.
I’m a school teacher and it’s been a rough adjustment for not only myself, but also my students and my students’ parents, because not only is there the factor of isolation and the uncertainty of going outside and not quite sure what precautions to take to remain safe, but also how do we educate our kids moving forward?
School ended for me and for my class right at the end of March Break and we hadn’t been back. We had distance learning, which was an adjustment. It was difficult for a lot of students not having the interpersonal contact with their teachers and it was the same for me. I missed my kids and I know that they missed me. By learning only through that portal, it’s really difficult to reach the kids and the specific needs that each one would have. So if you’re a hands-on learner, if you’re someone that needs a teacher over your shoulder, that aspect of learning is taken away from those students and then they’ve got to adjust.
A lot of the stresses that teachers go through every day are then placed upon the parents. They not only have to educate their kids, but they also have to then get through their daily lives and their work as well. So it’s just been pretty stressful all the way around. Then with the uncertainty of school opening again in September, even though the levels of COVID infection seem to have been decreasing in the city, it’s still a challenge moving forward.
Uncertainty is the word of the moment at this point, especially when it comes to school. There are many theories on how to reintegrate the students come September, but with social distancing and not having any place to house the kids, it’s going to be really difficult to find a way to have this be a successful venture. But the powers that be have their ideas, the teachers have their ideas and hopefully they’ll be able to come to some sort of an agreement that makes it safe for everyone involved.
The 2020 pandemic has had far and wide ranging effects on not only people, but also businesses as well and for me personally, outside of teaching, I also have my self-publishing business. So you’ve got comics and unfortunately, they were shut down for those who are in the professional ranks with an event called Pencils Down where a lot of the publishers stopped publishing during the early stages of the pandemic. What that did though was it allowed independents to continue to work and develop their ideas.
I was one of those people where I was able to kind of take a bad situation and make it as positive as possible. I used a lot of the time where I was isolated, away from everybody else and I was able to put that into developing and continuing some of my ideas. While it has been a shut down for movie productions and some comic book companies in terms of producing content, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. This year has been used to create your ideas and then hopefully get them into the marketplace for next year.
The life blood of any artist is the environment around them. So being in Stage 3 here in Kensington, in Toronto with the sounds and the people, the environment, cars, it’s just something that feeds the soul and also feeds your muse. I’m just really happy that we’re at this point and hopefully we can all work together as a community, government, industry, as well as citizens of the city and the country to make sure that we can beat COVID and get back to life as we knew before.
Mardi Daley on Youth Mental Health During COVID-19
In this video, Mardi Daley shares her insights about the impact of COVID-19 and social isolation on youth mental health.
We encourage everyone to check in with the support groups and resources available in your neighbourhood. Take care of yourself and stay safe.
Jaclyn Piudik’s Virtual Poetry Reading
We hope you enjoy this special virtual poetry reading with Jaclyn Piudik.
April 15, 2020
The inspiration for this work was a chance meeting with a number of Japanese girls in Hong Kong Harbor. I was sitting on a bench viewing the city of Hong Kong, a mass of skyscrapers built up against the green mountain. Beautiful.
A group of Japanese tourists, armed with cameras gathered before me. They beckoned me to come and photograph them, all together, smiling, and peering into the camera.
I stood a few meters from them, as to get them and Hong Kong together for posterity. The girls motioned for me to come closer, to take a photo of them from close up. I pointed out that their heads made it impossible to see Hong Kong behind them.
They said that was ok, and I took the shot.
I asked them where else had they visited? We sat down and they took out photographs of their travels. All the pictures were close-ups of them, taken by other amiable folks. What was most interesting was there was absolutely no way to figure out where the photos were taken, since they were all close-ups of the young ladies. Whatever landmark they had visited could not be seen.
In this case and apropos to our current dilemma, is the appearance of the “End of Days” in the background. As the girls focus on themselves, the landscape and blue sky behind them, becomes a puzzle, its pieces falling and revealing a world on fire!
This work is meant to be an act of humor, and child-friendly.
April 10, 2020
During this period of Passover and Good Friday / Easter enveloped in this deadly pandemic stressing all our human resources, I’d like to share this painting and thoughts….
I am not a religious person. I am, however, a spiritual person. The painting is from Havana, Cuba. What resonates with me is the universality in the characters and the simple dynamic of assistance and support overcoming the torturous, murderous, terrorizing crucifixion crosses.
I wish everyone health and safety, of course. A profound, human, spiritual bonding within all this social isolation and distancing can evolve, moving us all forward into a more humanitarian existence. Peace and perseverance to all of us….
March 11, 2020
Alexandria and Sebastian were born prematurely, 2 ½ months before their due date. They’ve both had to deal with a number of major health issues since birth. Mark, their dad has been doing his best trying to juggle their appointments while raising them on his own. He’s devoted to keeping them healthy and happy, but the past few months have been difficult.
After much encouragement from his family and friends, Mark has started a GoFundMe campaign. He says “I’ve been told that sometimes you can’t take the world on by yourself and you sometimes have to ask for help. Today is the day I swallow my pride and ask for help. I don’t care about me when it comes to making their lives easier at any cost.”
Please take a look at his fundraiser and donate if you can: