Dear Members of the Teachers College Community,

Three weeks have passed since Teachers College transitioned to operating remotely. I remain in awe of the resourcefulness, resilience, good humor, and courage displayed by each and every one of you. I am grateful to our faculty for adapting so quickly to online teaching, while giving so much to our students to enrich their academic experiences and promote their success. I am amazed by our students, remaining focused in the face of so much change. And I am impressed by our staff, who are “showing up” in new ways every day to support our mission. And I want to continue to thank our public safety and facilities staff who continue to come to campus to take care of students who are still in our residences.

Now, some updates:

Recent news

I am happy to report that New York State has given TC the green light to continue teaching all of our courses through both summer sessions. We plan to conduct our full summer program on line. We will provide more details next week.

Come Together Events

We are now finishing our second week of offering live programming, news and views, and helpful information and resources through our Come Together Right Now Virtually site. We have gotten lots of positive feedback, and I encourage us all to quite literally come together in real time during these events to view live performances, presentations, readings, and guided classes featuring our fellow students, staff members, and faculty. Not only is “attending” these programs a way to show support for our fellow TCers, it’s also a way for us to connect to one another through live chats. Whether you’re watching the programs on your devices, or playing them in the background as you multitask, there’s nothing like discovering the warmth, energy, and talents of the hidden gems throughout our community.

Over the weekend, TC Psychology Professor Traci Stein will lead an evening meditation session from 9 to 10 pm Sunday evening, using guided imagery to help calm your nerves --- and perhaps improve your sleep score on your smart watches.

Closing thoughts

This afternoon’s performer on the Acoustic Coffeehouse, Natalie Fabian, performed a lovely rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Help Me.” That made me think of Joni’s standard “Both Sides Now,” which includes the wise observation, “Something’s lost, but something’s gained/In living every day.” We all are feeling the ache of what’s been lost over the past several weeks, and for many of us, whom we’ve lost. Some of the losses will be long in duration but not permanent. Others are. For me, it’s painful not to be able to visit my grandchildren for the time being. And now that I’ve gotten to know so many of you much better online, I’m impatient for life to return to some semblance of normal.

But a lot has been gained. This crisis has brought out the best in us, and shown how creative and nimble we have to be. One of the more pleasant surprises, if not ironies, is that for all the talk about breaking down silos that has gone on for decades at TC, the experience of working remotely has begun to dissolve many of those silos. More people who hadn’t been acquainted with others or even known about them are “seeing” them and working with them more. A new camaraderie has begun to blossom, and that is a “gain” worth celebrating now and preserving when we all return to campus.

In the meantime, whoever you are and whatever you do, please remember no one has it easy now. Let’s remind ourselves to be supportive of one another and patient with one another. And let’s remember: We are among friends.

Tom Signature

Thomas Bailey
President, Teachers College