The Resistbot Podcast

Teleworking is not only a strategy for lowering COVID exposure, it’s the business model of the future.

Show Notes

✊🤖 Welcome to episode 14 where we discuss teleworking with Vilissa Thompson, LMSW, founder and CEO of Ramp Your Voice!, an organization focused on promoting self-advocacy and strengthening empowerment among disabled people; and national award-winning and board-certified PK-20 career educator and strategy coach, Dr. Chae Chambers.

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Episode edited by Angel Barrera. If you need a show edited, you can find her on Twitter here!
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Creators & Guests

Melanie Dione
Angel Barrera

What is The Resistbot Podcast?

Season 2 of The Resistbot Podcast, hosted by Melanie Dione, features a different interview every week with an organizer working to create change in their community. We aim to elevate voices without a large platform, focusing on their stories. Our pod is brought to you by the same volunteers behind the Resistbot ( chatbot that's driven over 30 million pieces of correspondence to elected officials since 2017. If you haven't given it a try, pull out your phone and text the word "resist" to the number 50409 to get started. You can text officials from your Mayor to the President, check your voter registration, start your own campaigns, and much more!

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Welcome to ResistBot Live.

Melanie: Good afternoon. It is January 16, 2022. I am your moderator, Melanie Dione, and this is Resist Bot Live. Welcome, teleworking. We all do it or not, we all do it, but it has become far more commonplace since covid 19. We are going into year three of a semi lockdown that has seen many of us, including yours truly and our lovely panelists, working from home in effort to stop the spread of covid 19. But what happens next when there is a seemingly distant post covert world, which seems like a pipe dream right now? But today we're going to talk about teleworking options and how number one, teleworking is an urgent need for all of us. And it's something that would be nationally beneficial when possible. Before we go further, I just want to remind you that we are here every Sunday at 01:00 p.m. Eastern. You can find us on Facebook, Twitch, Twitter, and YouTube so hi to wherever you're viewing us. Also, for those of you in Streamland, you can catch up with us on every Monday. I love to say that it's a Tuesday, but it's actually Monday that our podcast drops, so you can catch up with us every Tuesday. You can go to Resistbot Live and subscribe to us wherever you listen to your other favorite podcast. With no further Ado, I am going to bring up today's partner in crime, Susan Stutz.

Susan: Hi, Mel. It's the Dynamic Duo! laughs

Melanie: It is doing a Batman and Robin today.

Susan: Exactly.

Melanie: Thank you. We are going to have a surprisingly packed show that I'm actually very excited about today's show because we both telework.

Susan: Absolutely. And from what I understand, a huge portion of the population of office workers are now working from home. It's like 77% or something. And that is just that's kind of mind-blowing. The number of people

Melanie: and people don't want to go back. People don't want to go back, right?

Susan: I don't want to go back.

Melanie: Well, I ended up not going back. I adopted this and realized that this was a lot better. Working from home model is a lot better, but work is work. So today we're going to talk about the ups, the downs, what can be better, what's really working for us. And I want to remind folks that you can either comment on Facebook or you can tweet us using the hashtag Livebotters. We would love to hear from you. Let's talk about why we're here, like how we got here three years later, or we're going into the third year. Sorry. And we're dealing with pandemic fatigue. And we're still dealing with astronomical covid rates, varients, mutations, which have us in sort of a precarious position as workers, as people, as just citizens who are concerned about other people. What has the experience like been for you in terms of really setting up or establishing a teleworking routine.

Susan: You know, it was really difficult. I've worked from home off and on for several years just as needs arose and things like that. But making it this permanent part of my life has really been very interesting. In my mind, working from home was always the ideal situation. You're so lucky if you get to work at home. And it is it's much easier. There's something about being able to go to work in my PJs. But getting into that routine was difficult in finding those other ways. I work with a lawyer, I'm a paralegal. So finding those ways to prepare for court proceedings and different things like that with my attorney over Zoom or just over the phone, we had to try and fail several times before we could figure out what was going to work. Two years in, we're doing really well. It works for us. It's not ideal, it's not perfect, but it does work for us. Working from home has got some ups and it's got some serious downs. And when those hit you in the face, that can be very challenging.

Melanie: For me, I had to establish parts of my day where I reset. I don't drive, so I can't do a faky commute because there are some people who have done that. They kind of go out, come back, and that's how they start their day. But I had to establish my own morning daily routine. I also have a cat who won't let me be too lazy. I have to pay tribute in that way. But I had to make a schedule. I had to look at what days I'll be doing, working on what tasks, what times am I working on those tasks? And it took a lot of discipline because I did not have prior experience working from home. I've always been in the office, and my working from home was always more like my personal pursuits. So doing this in a way of making a living and realizing, yes, I don't do this, we're not going to eat. It had a much different implication. It was a lot more urgent for me, so I had to figure it out. Originally, I didn't know if I was kind of built to be a work-from-home type person, but I absolutely am. And a lot of people are. One of our petitions this week is actually from the city of New York. Can you talk about the petition a little bit, Susan?

Susan: Yeah. So the teleworking environment is different for everybody. And so what we've got is a petition. And it was written by a group called City Workers for New York City. And what they're petitioning for is they want teleworking. They want to be able to do it now because for so many people that it's the option. We know it works. We know it can work. They want to be able to have these options to be able to keep their industries going, keep the roof over their head, keep the food on their tables. And so they're asking for the state of New York to come in and help and give them some legislation that speaks to teleworking and will help them further their goals. Now, the call sign for this petition, if you want to sign onto this, is P as in Peter, Z as in zebra, A as in Apple, T is in Tom, J as in jelly, A as in Apple. Send that to 50409 and you can sign on to this petition and it will go to your legislators. Once you sign it, you can also send it to your friends and family so that they can sign on as well. The thing about covid and especially the new variant omicron, we hear it's mild. We keep hearing that it's mild. But we have to keep in mind we're dealing with a population where more people are vaccinated. We hear a lot of antivaxx rhetoric, but there are still a lot of people in this country who are vaccinated, which will to a certain extent contribute to the milder cases. But it is still life-threatening for the unvaccinated, for the elderly, for people with underlying health conditions. And we can't just sweep these people. We can't just sweep people under the rug because they're left behind. And we have one of our favorite favorites, Vilissa Thompson. I got to talk to her. She was some of you longtimers might remember her from our second episode when we talked about demolishing, disabled poverty. And you and I both quote her a lot. When we talk about whenever there's an issue that we're looking at, we need to look at the component where disabled people are affected because it's always there. So, of course, Vilissa gave us a lot of amazing information, so we would like to hear from her.

Melanie: And we are here with friend of the show, friend of Resistbot Live, Vilissa Thompson. Welcome, Vilissa.

Vilissa: Hey, Mel. So glad to be back.

Melanie: Thank you so much for joining us again. We really appreciate that. Maybe we did something right for you to come back the second time. Yes. Or maybe you just like me, which is fine.

Vilissa: It's both.

Melanie: I'll take all the credit. It's fine.

Vilissa: laughs

Melanie: So we're talking this week about teleworking, as you may know. We quote you almost every episode. You gave us so many gems when you were with us on our second episode. I can't believe now we're on episode 14. But you were with us on that second episode. You gave us so many gems. And the big gem that you gave us was that whenever you look at an issue, you can dig deeper and see that component where it impacts people with disabilities. For our newbies, if you could just kind of give a little refresher on who you are and what you do.

Vilissa: Yes. Well, I am from South Carolina. I'm a social worker, writer, consultant, activist that look at disability from an intersectional lens and particularly of the experiences of black disabled women and femmes like myself.

Melanie: When you're doing this work, teleworking is not a new topic for you.

Vilissa: Oh, definitely not.

Melanie: Can you talk a bit about what the pursuit of teleworking, especially from the standpoint of being disabled, can you talk about what getting that has been like in the obstacles that you've had to face?

Vilissa: Yes. So for me, my whole career as a social worker and activist has been online. One of the great things that teleworking has allowed is just freedom. I'm a wheelchair user, and in traditional social work roles, that may mean that I need to go out in the community. And as many people know, that not a lot of homes are wheelchair accessible. So that means there are barriers in me trying to retain work in my own profession. So working for myself, creating a space virtually eliminated this very big barrier. I've met disabled social workers like myself who also with your users, those who may have disabilities that prevent them from driving or it may not be safe to drive all these obstacles that industries like social work and other industries where you need a car to get there, where you need a license to be considered, or even if you may need to be able to lift a certain weight on the job, whether you may be lifting something or not. These are all barriers to us being employed and being seen as viable candidates. So being online, working virtually, whether for myself or when I was working for other organizations, really open the door to what kind of work I can receive. When I started working, I was on Social Security and I rolled off because I knew that was the best opportunity for me. So in being able to work virtually, I was able to meet this personal goal. And for many to say to people, whether they're still on SSI or SSDI or any other government assistance, working from home is so much better for them. They don't have to worry about transportation options. They don't have to worry about going into a brick-and-mortar every day and maybe being lower energy or having a flare-up with the chronic illness, having to figure out how do I make my doctor's appointments and show up for work every day. There are so many barriers that are eliminated when we have options and employment. And during this time Mel, we've seen that a lot of opportunities that were denied to disabled people simply because we needed teleworking accommodations can be done virtually, and that it has left a bitter taste in many of our mouths who have been denied not just partner opportunities, but also school opportunities as well, because we needed them to be virtual and people were not hip to the fact that it can be done. It can be done effectively. Our productivity is not hindered because we are at home versus being in the office. And for many of us, not being micromanaged creates a more safer environment, particularly if you are a marginalized disabled person like myself, being of color, if you're queer, if you're a woman or femme, other identities to where microaggressions and macro aggressions can really impede your quality of life and your work, telework can really help to eliminate or reduce many of those obstacles and transgressions that impact our life, not just what we can do professionally, but also personally.

Melanie: Yeah. One of the things that we're talking about when it's a matter of with telework right now, one of the petitions that we have for the city workers in New York, obviously, part of the reason that they want teleworking now is because of COVID and safety, which is very important. It's a very pressing and urgent need. But what this has taught us, what has happened since the pandemic and the semi lockdown, is that so much of telework is doable. Everybody we had a crash course and we made it work, and yet there were some bumps and bruises, and sometimes I bounce off the walls because I need people. But for the most part, we learn that this is doable. So telework is not just a response to code, but it's the future. And so when you think about it for the future of people with disabilities and how this can truly create new opportunities. When you were here the first time, we talked about the petition where we demolish disabled poverty, What does a teleworking future look like for people with disabilities? I was looking at some older gardens from the EEOC back in 2003, and it talked about the Americans with Disabilities Act. And if teleworking would be a reasonable accommodation, if it could be considered a reasonable accommodation, the answer was more or less yes. But there was a lot of discretion that it took a lot out of the it wasn't very collaborative in terms of the employer and the employee. It was still imbalanced and heavily on the employer side, where it's kind of the way it read to me was, yeah, this is what you have to do, but eh it's up to you. So what does the future look like where there is a more robust policy on what teleworking would look like as a reasonable accommodation, a supported reasonable accommodation specifically for people with disabilities?

Vilissa: I think it's very interesting that you bring up the EEOC stance, because that was almost 20 years ago, and we saw the resistance to telework, even when it was seen at that time to be a viable work accommodation or work strategy to utilize. And I think that something that people fell to realize. If it benefits to save people, it would benefit all of us. Teleworking isn't just about that. It benefits to stay with people. It benefits parents of small children. We see this now. Parents are trying to scramble to get childcare for either their little ones that cannot be vaccinated due to their age or their kids that may or may not be vaccinated due to other medical reasons or what have you. And I'm still trying to figure out who's going to watch my child if they have to be remote to learn and they are forced to go back into the office and trying to arrange childcare if they can. So I really think that we need to connect the dots here, that if it benefits this community, it benefits everyone, particularly since the disabled community is the largest minority group in this country. We really have to start thinking about how can we make this not just even more strengthening the accessibility of it, but also strengthening our understanding that work does not have to look like work that our parents have done, our grandparents have done, and our great grandparents have done in the same way we could think about education too. There's been this tug of war of sorts about in-person versus teleschooling. And yes, the biggest issue that I've seen with schools and during virtual learning is that they have not adequately assessed how online academies have done it well, even though we're not going to year three at this pandemic to learn the pros and cons and make it more effective. Just as there are students who may not benefit as well, virtually, there are also students who don't benefit well in person. So that's why I think that in person is the remedy for all learning, just like in person is not the remedy when it comes to work. So really being more open and accommodating to everybody and we live in a country that doesn't really care about accommodating people who they deem as disposable, who they deem as not worthy of it. And I think that's some of the shaming that we have to bring forth when it comes to the resistance of teleworking and any type of teleservice, rather whether it's telephone and telehealth and so forth, this has always been an option. The resistance is that you don't see it as a viable one because it may be new territory for you and trying to learn the technology, or just your own ignorance as to how it can be fully sustaining to your business, to your school, to the population that you're engaging with, and how to really open up your minds in a way as to how can we engage with each other that is not only safer for the times that we need it to be, but also more effective and efficient to what we're aiming to do, what is working, making our goals or schools make sure that our students pass, whether it's K through twelve or higher Ed. I think that for me, what the disabled community does so well is knowing how to adapt to the changing times and telework, tele school, telehealth, teletherapy and all the other branches of this world is here to stay. It's here to stay, whether you like it or not. And it's on you to get with the program and to update your understanding of it and be more comfortable with being in this position to where our world is vast. It has always been vast. And disabled people have always known that. That's just the way that we use technology to connect to each other, to drive activism, work, to go to school now, to work now. These are things we've always known. So it's really you all are catching up to what we've always been saying and always been promoting. But now that we've been thrusted into this world two years, going on three, we're all seeing the, quote, unquote benefits which have always been there. But it's really getting people to see that this is a way of life that is sustainable. Yes, I know so many of us, myself included, need that one-on-one. Like you had mentioned earlier, that sociality aspect. But until it is safer for many of us to do that, this is a critical option that we have to utilize to the fullest. And we haven't learned how to do this over the past two years. And like you said, this has been some mishaps here and there. But we have our study understanding of it. So why would you want to throw away something that is obviously working? And it's actually been a benefit for a lot of people. We've seen students thrive, particularly those of color who was dealing with racism and other offenses, who are thriving. I've seen particularly black parents talk about how their students now have IEP who now have their disability diagnosed, which they were going under the radar, as many of our black and brown students do in our school. So there are benefits beyond just the work and the learning that happening. People are finding themselves in ways that they did it before. And telework and telecommunications has really been effective in that.

Melanie: So how do we support that? Of course, there's the global support because of covid and seeing this as a waiver of the future. But specifically when it comes to supporting this term, from the standpoint of accessibility, what is it that people can do to support, to be supportive from where they are now?

Vilissa: I tell businesses all the time that come to me for training, particularly they want to do a little bit at work training situation is that make this an option. Most industries that have been able to go online have seen most likely positive results. Their employees are happier because they're not spending so much time in rush hour traffic. They're able to make time for their kids in case they do have to stay at home because it's safer until they can go back to school or if they're sick with covid they don't have to worry about transmitting it throughout the office. And also if you decide to go for virtual altogether, that means that you don't have to pay for a building. So I think that we have to see the benefits and be able to be like I said before, adaptable and really expand our understanding and also figure out how to make this better. There's always room to improve how we look at telework, teleschool, telehealth, teletherapy, and so forth. Have an honest conversation about where the gaps may be and not just because you don't want to do it and I don't like it. So that means that it's a fail. No. There are ways to improve this that will make it sustaining. That would make it help more people and for businesses, make you more money, since that's what many people in business care about and also ensure that you're not missing people. I know that I give a lot of presentations and stuff, and I've seen folks have astronomical number of attendees in their programs that they would not have had if it was just simply in person. So just think about your own reach as a business, your own reach as a school, as to who you may be able to retain and the cost value of that, like the lesser cost that you may sustain in the long term and having things virtually what is gaining more clients, gain more attention to what you do or retain a better talent. I think that's the key thing here is that making things more virtually will allow us to stay with people whom you may not have been able to engage with before, to be a part of your school, to be a part of your job force because disabled people have significantly unemployment issues, the unemployment unemployment issues and telework can be one of these remedies to increasing this particular workplace. So you can get that disabled talent. A lot of companies care about DI and diversity inclusion and so forth, how we can expand that. So being honest as to what your company is about, how you're changing the culture to be more inclusive and accessible, that's going to give you the results that you may not have considered before the pandemic began.

Melanie: Thank you. As always, Vilissa. Before we go, I want to make sure that you let folks know, A how we can find you and B how we can support you and your work with Ramp Your Voice.

Vilissa: Okay, well, you can find me on all social platforms at Vilissa Thompson or at Ramp Your Voice, which is my blog organization. I am for hire when it comes to consulting, training, speaking and writing opportunities. And I have a Patreon where you can support me for as little as $2 a month, where you get a little bit more behind the scenes as to my work and some of my thoughts that I have about disability issues and also things that are also my passion.

Melanie: Thank you again. And as always, this conversation is going to be a continuing conversation and cannot wait for you to join us again. Thank you so much, Melissa.

Vilissa: Thank you, Mel.

Melanie: It's always great when Vilissa is with us because she gives us so much insight, not just on disabled issues, but just on the Holistic effect. Like, all of this is connected. We're not separated from each other. There's not one America for people with disabilities and another America for people without. We all live in the same place and we all have to engage and ultimately look out for each other. I know that's not always popular, but we have to look out for one another.

Susan: I agree. I just want to clarify something that I said earlier because I don't want to give the wrong impression. When I was learning and educating myself about teleworking and how that looks across the country, I looked into a survey that was done by Pricewaterhouse Coopers. They did it in late 2020, and their results came out in 2021. And of the office workers that we have in America, 77% of office workers went to teleworking. And so I didn't want anybody to think that I was suggesting that 77% of the working population went to teleworking because that's just not possible. So I just wanted to clarify that. Thank you, Athena, for making sure I knew that. I don't want to portray something not as it is. So I appreciate her bringing that to my attention.

Melanie: Right. Because the thing is, we have to remember we've always had the conversation about essential workers. So we have people who work in foodservice, people who work in health care, people who work actual retail, teachers. They are all on the front lines and exposed when we talk about education, though, because we can't talk about telework without talking about education. Children are still vulnerable. Whether it is children who are vulnerable because their parents are still sort of iffy on vaccinations or they're not able to get vaccinations. Let's just say it kids are just gross. The way we respect social distancing and things like that. Kids just don't. Five-year-olds just don't have that. I remember when my kids were little, we went to the doctor's office and they had the regular room and they had the contagion room. And I think one of the kids escaped the contagion room sneezed in his hand. And the first thing my kids did was grab them and say, oh, let's go play. And I was right back at the doctor's office in a week. I was like, oh, yeah, no, we're going to be back. That's cool. That's awesome. But this is the reality that we live in. Whereas adults, we're barely holding on, we're barely keeping it together. We have pandemic fatigue. And some of us have decided that since we're over it, whatever, that is not the case. Especially not the case in school. Just recently, Brooklyn technical high schools, the students had to walk out. There's been a lot of conversations about the effect of learning or what happened to learning, particularly in America during the pandemic. And I got to talk to Dr. Chawanna Chambers, who is an educator, a consultant, and all-around Rockstar, who was able to give us a lot of insight on the educational aspect of distance learning and how to make that work, especially when we're dealing with parents who have to work from home.

Interview with Dr. Chawanna Chambers
Melanie: And we're joined with Dr. Chae Chambers. Welcome. Hi, Dr. Chambers.

Dr. Chae: Hi. How are you?

Melanie: I'm doing great. Thank you so much for joining us. The conversation today is about teleworking, and I'm sure a lot of people are wondering what how is that we're talking about teleworking, but you're an educator. Can you first talk a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Dr. Chae: Sure. My name is Dr. Chawanna Chambers. Also, folks know me as Dr. Chae. I am a chief academic officer of a public charter network in Central Texas. We have an organization that has about five schools. What my role is really supporting campuses with the instructional support, like the curriculum, identifying instructional materials that are high quality and helping us implement those things. Also, part of our role is strategic planning. So thinking about future schools that we want to open, really just being a support for folks that are in the classroom and then for coaches. My prior experiences span lots of different things. I've taught in traditional public schools and international schools online. I was an online teacher for quite some time and have done research on blended learning and helped write books around and like book chapters and those things around blended learning. I do a whole lot of things in education and K twelve education and have been working through this pandemic since the beginning and trying to support our teachers and our students as much as I can.

Melanie: And you've done a lot of consulting and coaching not only for educators, but also parents who home school. Which isn't exactly what remote learning is, but ultimately, you would have to implement some strategies as a homeschooling parent when your kids are remote learning. So let's talk a bit about the effects of the pandemic or the effects that the pandemic has had on the learning process and what has been your observations as both an educator and as a parent. You also have kids.

Dr. Chae: Sure. So I think one of the biggest things that we hear often is that there's a lot of learning loss or there are gaps and those types of things. And I often find the language a bit on the deficiency side and focus on loss to be quite frank and what's not right. So one of the phrases that I'd heard that was used here in Texas was unfinished learning or incomplete learning. So it's not that students have necessarily lost things. It's that the learning experiences in 2019, 2020, 2021, they were incomplete and or disrupted multiple times when they had to be quarantined and grade levels quarantined here or a whole school is quarantined there. So there's just been some incomplete pieces like we just haven't finished the impact on the learning experiences. It seems like folks know that this exists, but are still trying to push kids to reach the same levels they should have they would have reached if the pandemic had never existed. It's been really difficult to make sense of and this is like nationwide make sense of this idea that we understand the impacts of the disruption and the death and all of the mental health issues, and yet we are still pushing students to perform exactly the way they would have performed if there had not been append in it. I think that impacts the learning experience because it's the constant pushing and pushing and never getting to identify that, hey, this is where we are right now. Can we shift? Can we change the way we do this and try something new? We have this opportunity to change things, to do something different. And that's not necessarily being embraced on a larger scale. So that puts more pressure on teachers, it puts more pressure on campus leadership. It puts more pressure on children to still perform as though this pandemic never exists.

Melanie: And it's a tall ask, even for us as adults. I mean, I work. I work from home, and I know I had to revamp how I work. I had to develop a working strategy as a grown adult like we all do when we're dealing with trauma and change and whatever else. The thing that I think about with learning loss is how that's brought up as a problem here in the United States. But one, remote learning isn't exactly new. It's not. People have homeschooled long before this, there were cyber schools, et cetera. World bank had an article recently that talked about Nigeria and how they're experiencing the exact opposite in Nigeria. Remote learning is actually combating learning loss. I like what you brought up about how it's not it's kind of a play on words because you can operate at the same level as you were and then consider it a loss when the circumstances are not the same. So when you hear situations or hear about places like Nigeria where the exact opposite is happening, where does that fit with you? What are your thoughts on that? On what the differences may be?

Dr. Chae: Sure. I think I contend that it is about the implementation. It is about how blended learning or online learning or remote learning is planned out and then how teachers are supported and coached and taught through that process and how you implement it on a day to day basis. And this is something that I had tweeted about maybe last week around this concept like online learning, remote learning that is not new. There are decades of research and best practices that exist, but those things weren't necessarily consulted when the pandemic popped off right in March of 2020, it was we have to go from brick and mortar to online in a weekend type of situation. And so what has been implemented? I would argue that what has been implemented in the United States, not saying that some haven't done a better job than others was not the best practice for blended learning or for online learning. It was not the best practice for remote instruction. And so I would wager that Nigeria's experience was different in that. And perhaps they used some best practices. Perhaps they spoke to some experts about how to implement this and to ensure that students were growing and learning, though they were not in a brick and mortar institution. I feel like that's the thing with most things is how did you implement it? How did you put it into practice and then how did you maintain it? How did you keep it up? How did you adjust when you noticed that things were not working or could have been better?

Melanie: And I would imagine that a willingness to adjust to change is also part of it. If you approach something where you're already not feeling it, think it's unnecessary, think it won't work.

Dr.Chae And if you're fearful that this could make life different for you after the fact, so many people felt like the online component, it wasn't even blended. The online component, the remote component would take the place of teachers or would take the place of the traditional learning environment. And that fear. When you're driven by fear, then more often than not, you look at things from a more negative perspective or more. Here's why we shouldn't do this, because we need to go back to the way that it was. We need to return to normal. We need to go back. Because when we go back, I will be comfortable with where we were. And that's not what they didn't have to be that way. I think that's the thing that frustrates me the most as a parent and as an educator. They didn't have to be this way. We could have as a nation implemented remote instruction and remote learning in a much more effective way that could have helped teachers once students were back on campus. It becomes a blended program. It becomes using this in my everyday classroom to still address the needs that my individual students have. And I'm still needed as a teacher. I'm still needed as a coach, still needed as an educator. It didn't have to be all or nothing. And it just feels that kind of what happened here.

Melanie: I agree. I think that's a large part of what we're dealing with. Tapping into your expertise as far as best practices, when we're dealing with parents who are teleworking and in tandem have kids who are remote learning, do you have any recommendations or strategies that you found, whether it's your personal or things that people have come back and told you work for them. Do you have any suggestions on that front?

Dr.Chae: At the start of and we were all working from home, like my spouse, myself, and we have two children who are also going to school from home. So one of the things that we did was have their devices with their alarm set so that they would know it's time for me to get back into my Zoom or my Google meet. And we titled like, okay, this is your first period, this is your math class, this is your English class, this is your movement, whatever class to help them because they would lose track of time, just like we would lose track of time. Like, oh, shucks, you should have been in class ten minutes ago. So creating some type of schedule, one with alarms that are on their device that can remind them. When we started appending, my daughter was a kindergartener, but her school was very adamant that parents not log in for them, not do any of the things for them. Like, they wanted the girl since she goes in all girls school, they wanted the girls to figure it out, like, to learn it themselves. And so we showed her how to do it and then let her do it. So for our kindergartener, we did not have to put her into the Zoom room or any of those things. We showed her how to do it a couple of times, watched her practice it, and then she did it herself. And that was okay. It was us getting to a place where we believed that she could do it, showed her how to do it, gave her the coaching, and then allowed her to do it. And that helped us tremendously because with the alarms already set to remind her and then her knowing how to log into the Zoom herself, we didn't have to get up and like, hold on, let me transition my kindergarten into her next class period. And that was helpful. The other thing is, we did not police what they were doing when they weren't in class. If you want to read a book, great. If you want to watch your YouTube, go ahead. If you want to play your game, whatever, that's okay. As long as you understand that you need to be in class all the time. To me, that was helpful because I could focus on what I was doing for work, right, which was helping other parents get logged in and those types of things. When I feel like sometimes in trying to control for everything, we can create more pressure on ourselves and more work for ourselves. What we tried to do was give our children the freedom to move about as they needed to throughout the day to take those brain breaks, because we need to take brain breaks, too. And it's okay if you watch YouTube, just don't be late to your class. And then at the end of the day, we're checking. Hey, did you have homework assignments? Did you get everything submitted, et cetera? Having a quiet space for them is helpful if you have the ability to do that. Sometimes take meetings in my closet so that I could focus on the things that I needed because my spouse talks kind of loud and by the same for me. But thinking about all of the spaces, whatever space you have in the room in the house, how can you divvy that up so that everyone has a location where they're going to go today? This is where I'm going to do my stuff is where I'm going to take my meetings or I'm going to take my meeting outside because it's a pretty day, though, I can be outside, so you can be in the bedroom and the other one can be in the living room and somebody can be in the kitchen. Using your space that you do have to create these little nooks for everybody who's got to who's got to work. And then with bandwidth, ensuring that during school hours or when everyone's working like anything else that you would typically use the Internet with, like your TV, your PlayStation, your Xbox, whatever, your phone, turn off the WiFi on your device, because even though you're not necessarily using your phone, it's still drawing bandwidth at the same time. And so that was a big struggle for parents is like trying to figure out why everything is going so slow. Sometimes they did throttle, they did throttle folks. But sometimes you don't realize how many devices you actually have connected to your WiFi. So turn them off. Like, turn the WiFi off on those things during the day to help conserve the bandwidth for when you're in meetings and when your children are doing work for school.

Melanie” Thank you so much. There's so much that we can cover on this. We talked a little earlier with Vilissa Thompson of Ramp Your Voice about distance learning, remote learning. She talked about the impact that it has on kids with disabilities. So there's just a broad spectrum of what needs to be covered. And this in a lot of ways, even though the pandemic is temporary, distance learning, remote learning, all of these things are really the future. I think we all need to figure out how to get used to these hybrid models, whether it's working, school, etc. I so much appreciate you taking up the time to visit with us. Can you tell folks one more time where they can find you, your organization on Twitter, etc?

Dr. Chae: Sure. One thing I will add to the disabilities conversation is when you- I tweet a lot if you didn't know and so on Twitter, you get a very different perspective sometimes around how remote working has helped folks who may have social anxiety and just different disabilities and or mental health issues and in schools. That is also true for certain students, it was helpful, whereas for some students it was harder. I do think one of the things I want all of us to think about is when we're talking about what the pandemic has caused or what the pandemic has done. I want to challenge us all to consider multiple perspectives and multiple concepts for the same group. Right. For students who have an IEP, some it may have worked well for them. For others, it may not have both of those things or three of those things can be true simultaneously. And that's what makes it a little bit harder to come up with solutions, because we have to think about we can't pigeonhole everyone or put everybody else in the same group. Yes, it worked well for this. It worked well for that. We have to think about smaller groups and subgroups, subpopulations of folks that within the same big group that it worked well for and those that didn't anyway. So I can do a lot you can find me on Twitter, Dr. Chae Ed. My at name is pretty much the same everywhere. Facebook. I do have a Facebook page. I do have a clubhouse. I'm on Instagram. Not as often, but I'm on Instagram. And then my website, You can find me there, please, if you're on Twitter. That's where I am for the most part is on Twitter. But reach out, comment, talk to me. I like to have conversations with people. I was actually just tweeting today about how I miss having conversations on the timeline. I learn a lot from different folks and from different perspectives. So reach out. I do coaching. I coach folks and then also work with organizations that need support, with strategic planning, with instructional supports, with blended learning and all of those things.

Melanie: I can tell you for certain that I have followed Dr. Chae for it's had to been a decade, I think you only had one baby when I followed you, and so you would not be disappointed. One of my favorite Twitter accounts and one of my favorite educators. So thank you so much. This is a conversation that I'm sure that will be looping back on, and I'm hoping that you'll join us.

Dr.Chae: Yes. Awesome. Thank you

Melanie: Thank you. Thank you so much for your time.

Susan: She made me think of that, leaving the kids behind and then the learning loss and whatnot. And I had never thought about the way that she spoke about it, that we're holding our children to the same measurements that they would have been bound by in an in-person learning environment. And to hold them to that on a telescope environment. I had never thought about that. And that is just so unfair. And it's unrealistic. Children are not going to achieve the same things when the stress that we're under, our kids are under, too, and they bring that with them when they go to their classrooms, virtual or otherwise. And so to lay those same expectations on them that we would in a brick and mortar. It's so unfair to the children and to the educators alike. And I had not thought about it until Dr. Chae said something. And then the little light bulb, wow, she's 100% right.

Melanie: Because they're little people. They don't have the tools or the awareness. And even when we get to older teens, they're still learning their emotions, dealing with hormones. Just being a teenager. For me, being a teenager wasn't terrible, but it was very complicated. Like, I had a lot of things going on, and I am somebody who dealt with a parent dying or being ill and ultimately dying when I was a teenager. For these kids who death is just overwhelming at this point, it's irrational to expect them to behave the same way, to react the same way, to learn the same way. We need to be able to innovate. And it's showing that it can be done. I shared the article a little earlier about remote learning in Nigeria and how these kids are thriving. And so it can be done. But there has to be a willingness, there has to be a collaborative effort that's going to take us being grown up. We look at Dr. Chae in Texas. There was just recently the lawsuit for kids with disabilities because of the mask mandate. I mean, these are just little things where they need us to be grown up and make these decisions.

Susan: And that's the flip side of this educational component is you have governors, my state, Florida is the same way where we don't have these protections in place and children are still going to schools. And the legislature has gone one step further and says, well, you absolutely cannot put Mask mandates in place. And so when the school districts in Texas did, the attorney general started suing the various school districts in the state of Texas and bragging about it on Twitter and Facebook and articles and whatnot. And it went up the food chain, as lawsuits do. And ultimately, the determination was that Texas was violating the ADA rules and blocking access to education for these children. So some kids have to be in school. They're not going to be able to do the remote learning. They're going to be in the brick and mortar schools, and we have to protect them in the same way. And I would just like to add one other thing with regard to kids. We have a language. We can talk about the depression that we feel, the anxiety, the stress that we feel going into the third year. And for those of us that have little people in our homes as well, I encourage you to consider their mental health, too. They don't necessarily have the verbiage to explain how they're feeling, but there are people out there who are trained and educated to help our little ones. And so I just encourage everybody to think about them too. When we're thinking about our own stress, they have it too.

Melanie: And the thing we want to remember too, when we talk about it's, not only kids who don't have access, teleworking is not something that everyone has access to. I just want to reiterate that there are people who are helping us, who are facilitating our basic every day, not only our needs, but also our want. Because I don't need a cup of coffee, but I like it. And there is somebody there to provide that service for me and I'm thankful for them. But one of the things that we need to do when we think about one of the effects of teleworking remote options is limiting the time we're spending mixing with other people and making it safer not only for us, but also for these people who have to be out there who are helping the public-facing part of society keep running. That is just something that we cannot ignore when we talk about teleworking, because this is something that affects a very specific set of the population. Not all jobs, not all people will be able to work remotely. And the other thing that we also want to think about when we talk about people with disabilities, not all people with disabilities will be able to have work from home options. But we also know that there are still health complications that covid will exacerbate. So we want to make sure that we're being good neighbors, being decent people. And one of the things that we're doing because we have the petition from the city of New York, but we also have a Resistbot petition.

Susan: Now that we've seen that teleworking, it's a viable option. Like we've said, the disabled community has been advocating for this for a long time. So we know it works in a lot of industries. And so what we need now that we know that it works, and now that we can refute the industries that say no, we need you in the cubicle, we need legislation that protects us, we need legislation that protects our rights, tells us what's our rights and our obligations are under this new world that we're living in. And so we have a new petition and it was started by Resist Bot. And the call sign for it, P as in Peter, S as in Susan, W as in Wait, W as in Wait, Z as in zebra, Z as in zebra. And if you send that call sign to 50409, you can sign onto this petition and it matches the name of our show. It's called Common Sense and the Hallway Commute. It also in here advocates for employers providing KN 95 masks because we know now that the cloth ones and the little pull up things, those are useless.

Melanie: They were very cute. An attempt was made!

Susan: laughs They're cute! But they don't do the job.

Melanie: And the thing that we want to make sure that we hammer in is this is something that we really want on a national scale, because there's not just one state that's affected by covid, but also beyond that, when we talk about this petition, it also gets into not only covid, but beyond covid, because the workplace has changed. And we need to look at not looking back at what we had and going back to that, but looking forward into innovation and the potential of teleworking and what that means for the future for employers. There are benefits for employers. There are benefits for employees. Employers retain more staff. Employees are less likely to take time off. They have a better sense of balance. They have a better home life. There's a certain freedom and flexibility that lets them stay with their jobs longer. So there's all these benefits that come with teleworking. And then when you get to the very important point where we don't want to leave behind any of our citizens, when we look at once again how this can impact our disabled neighbors, people with disabilities, and how this making sure because there's a provision in the Americans with Disabilities Act where we talk about where it talks about reasonable accommodations. But when you do more reading, it's often at the discretion of the employer. And that's mentioned as the most challenging, what's a reasonable accommodation? So when you start leaving that to personal preference, it's not enough. It's inadequate. And we need to have something that is more concrete and robust so that we can all move forward and move that needle toward equity. So it has been wonderful. I want to thank Vilissa, as always. I want to thank Dr. Chae, who was just amazing, looking forward to having both of them back. I want to thank you.

Susan: Thank you!

Melanie: Make sure that we shout out your amazing article because you wrote an article this week about the Hallway. Commute. That is a deep dive into some of the things, a deeper dive into some of the things that we discussed today. So make sure you go to ResistBot every week. Susan is tirelessly working on articles that make sure that she's giving deeper insight into the topics that we're having on our shows. So appreciate that so much. And make sure that you read these amazing articles. They're super dope. And we love you. I'm so thankful that you do this for us every week.

Susan: Thank you for that. Thank you.

Melanie: And that's our show. We want to give shout-outs to the homies that aren't here. Christine Lu, Athena Fulay, who was still running point in the background, making sure that we were on point. Appreciate her so much. And Professor Buzzkill, as always, we will be back next Sunday at 01:00 P.m.. This episode will be up tomorrow, not Tuesday. I'm going to stop saying Tuesday. The episode will be up to tomorrow. And we will also soon be having our first minisode with Professor Buzzkill. We're going to loop back to last week's show where we talk about what happens when your coup fails and so we'll be going into the beer hall putsch, and that was Hitler's failed coup in 1923. Want to make sure that you know how to support us? Go to Resist Bot if you would like to volunteer. If you'd like to be a monthly donor and skip the line. If you want to create an open letter or petition, go to Resist Bot. Get started with $5 a month. Skip the line, get your own keyword. We love monthly donors, so make sure that you go to Resist dot Bot and subscribe to our podcast at Resistbot Live. Again, I want to thank you for joining us, and until next week, we'll see you.

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