Yesterday our school district began distance learning.
Our kids are receiving instruction via Google Classroom.
And yesterday, as I helped my 9-year-old navigate GC for the first time ever, it became apparent that this is not how to handle our current situation.
I appreciate the Herculean effort our administration and elementary school teachers made to get this up and running so our kids can continue to receive instruction while schools are shut down.
But the truth of the matter is that our kids are not receiving instruction.
They are receiving curriculum.
And it is not our job as parents to deliver the instruction of that curriculum.
Our teachers have been placed in an impossible situation.
I was an elementary school teacher for ten years.
And even with that experience, even with a masters in elementary education, yesterday was one of the most challenging mornings I’ve had in a very long time.
This is coming from a mom who has had over ten years working in the classroom.
Experience as a fourth grade teacher.
My son is in fourth grade!
I know my 4th grade shit!
Here is the thing about teachers.
They have some things that we at home don’t have.
Firstly, they have training. And a degree. And professional development. And time to practice with new tools and platforms and strategies before being asked to implement them.
They have knowledge and experience that most parents don’t.
They also have students who are all on the same grade level in their classrooms. And they have support teachers who assist them.
Our elementary school teachers had to instantly learn how to use Google Classroom and how to deliver content to their students pretty much overnight.
I appreciate this effort. I really do.
As a former teacher, I think it’s the teacher’s responsibility to meet the needs of all his/her students.
Under normal circumstances.
That is just not possible right now.
Because even though all students in a classroom are not on the same level, at least the field on which they are playing is level. And there are support teachers in the classroom to help kids who have special needs and IEP’s ad 504’s.
But now the kids are playing on 20+ different fields.
You’ve got kids at homes where both parents are working from home. You’ve got kids living with single parents. You have kids living with one parent some of the time, and another parent the other times.
You’ve got parents with lots of resources at home, and you’ve got parents with no resources at home.
You’ve got parents who have one kid in elementary school, and you’ve got kids with two or three (or four!) kids in elementary school at the same time.
You’ve got kids whose parents don’t speak English. You’ve got kids whose parents have PhD’s and kids whose parents didn’t finish high school.
You’ve got twenty kids spread over twenty “classrooms” with so many different living conditions that you really can’t guarantee that any of them have support or guidance or access to the things they need in order to complete the assignments that have now been given to them.
Even if the school provides them with some form of device.
This morning, with Day 1 of distance learning behind them, I had several friends posting on Facebook about how their kids were in tears.
Some of my friends were even in tears.
That was me yesterday.
My older three have lots of experience with Google Classroom, so they were fine.
But the younger two were a fucking disaster.
Expecting your children to learn, from home, in completely new classroom settings, without a trained teacher present (or at least instructing via video), when their parents have to work from home, with siblings of all ages in the home, and just about all of their usual outlets — friends, playgrounds, sports teams, after school activities, etc. — completely stripped away from them is just, well…
It’s completely ridiculous.
The amount of stress and pressure I felt yesterday was off the charts.
And I’m a highly educated and experienced former teacher.
Let’s take the teaching background out.
Then let’s add in a few things.
Let’s add in the kids whose parents were just laid off and have no income and had no savings.
Then let’s add in the parents who are scared shitless they will be laid off if they don’t produce work from home.
Then let’s add in the women who are in abusive relationships and are now trapped at home 24/7 with their abusive partners.
Let’s add in the kids who are now home 24/7 with abusive parents.
Let’s add in the parents who are essential workers who are working in ridiculous conditions in hospitals and many grocery stores where ignorant people are clueless about protocol.
People are stressed out beyond belief.
And on top of that, let’s now require them to be their kids’ full-time teacher.
It’s not okay.
I know there are people from different camps on the whole at home instruction thing.
I posed this question on the NYAM Facebook page today.
Which situation are you in:
1 — Our school has moved to mandatory online learning.
2 — Our school has given suggested guidelines for kids to follow and has provided resources, but nothing is mandatory.
3 — Our school is putting no pressure on us to instruct our kids at home.
Well over 100 people replied from all different parts of the country.
I don’t have exact numbers, because people keep commenting, but the majority of people are #1 and #2, with maybe more people in the #2 situation.
I’m estimating 10-15% of people are in the 3rd situation.
So that’s what schools are doing.
Then people fall into the following categories:
- I want my kids doing school full time from home.
- I want my kids to have access to stuff so they can do some school work if they want to, plus I need some structure.
- I have no interest in structure or formal learning right now.
I understand all three categories of parenting.
We all have to do what works best for us.
Especially during times of crisis.
But we are in a fucking crisis!
How are we expecting anyone to make massive changes like this in a crisis?
I, myself fall between category 2 and 3. I need some structure. So do my kids.
But I also do not believe that learning online and submitting assignments is the only way to learn right now.
Or even the best way to learn.
Someone left a comment along the lines of “I am not letting my child learn nothing for 6 months.”
I hear that.
I really do.
But there are so many ways to learn.
And after yesterday and our first day of distance learning, here is what I am sure of.
Many, many, many parents are more stressed out than they have ever been right now.
Their lives have been turned upside down.
Opportunities for relief from our kids are very hard to come by.
Now is not the time to force parents to teach their children.
I know the level of frustration I was at yesterday.
It was high.
Take a parent whose parenting skills are questionable, who has no teaching experience, who is terrified she won’t be able to feed her family in a couple weeks, and then add in a kid who is fucking losing his or her shit because this online school stuff is too much right now, and you are setting that parent and child up for disaster.
Parents are going to snap, and kids are literally going to get their asses kicked.
It’s not a fair situation for us to put kids or parents in.
I think the schools should get as many resources and options out there as they can. With the key word being options. And optional.
Let the parents who want that serious structure and who have the patience and resources and time to deliver the instruction and guidance it takes for distance learning to effectively take place to go that route.
But what if we asked our schools to do their best to facilitate education in other ways for parents who just can’t manage the GC stuff?
If I was in charge right now, I’d encourage my teachers do the following (for elementary school teachers who have self-contained classrooms):
- Email each student individually daily. Most kids have access to email at home. Ask them questions about how things are going at home. Give them a daily safe spot to come to. Remind them that you care about them. Give them genuine daily connections.
- Send hand written letters weekly to each student. Ask them to write back.
- Ask students to cook or bake something each week with their parents, and use a recipe that utilizes fractions.
- Ask parents to read a book aloud (just like teachers do in school) daily with their children.
Just asking kids to do those 4 things will have them practicing keyboarding skills (one of the things that was kind of brutal on day one of distance learning for us), communication skills, writing skills, and reading and math skills.
And they are things that parents can manage fairly easily.
It will encourage families to spend more time together, and it will provide opportunities and activities that apply to real life situations.
It will keep teachers in touch with students daily.
All the other online stuff will be there, and parents who want to utilize that can do that as well.
When I look at all the responses to the question I posed on the NYAM Facebook page, there is such a wide range of what is being done not only across the country, but across each individual state.
There is no possible way to level the playing field as far as what kids learn in the next few months.
And the reality is that it doesn’t really matter if kids learn the parts of speech now, or in the fall.
They will all get caught up.
Teachers know how to do that stuff.
After yesterday’s distance learning day from hell, I emailed Number 6 and 7’s teachers.
I told them the only thing we’d be doing was learning how to log in to Google Classroom independently, and then doing whatever the assigned math work was.
That was it.
I am not in a position right now to teach my kids how to use a virtual learning platform overnight, and then deliver the content that is posted on it.
I assured both teachers that I’d be making sure the kids were reading at home. Maybe we would do some writing.
You know what happened when I told the kids last night that we were only going to do the math that was assigned from their teachers?
The pressure disappeared.
The kids relaxed.
There were no meltdowns today.
There were no tears.
When I sat down on the couch with the kids to read Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, the kids were 100% engaged. Nobody argued.
The only thing they asked was if we could read more.
There was a lot of learning happening here today.
But the one who learned the most was me.
I’m following my gut.
I’m focusing on doing what I can to teach my kids all the stuff that really matters.
Especially right now.
They need to continue to learn the importance and value of contributing at home.
They need to learn the importance of self care.
They need to learn how to express themselves effectively in times of uncertainty.
If you can learn how to do it via Google, then it can wait.
But for the next couple weeks — and more likely, months — I’m going to focus on the things that Google Classroom can’t teach my kids.
Lose your shit less. Effectively guide your kids more. My free online mini course can help. Click here to register.
I completely agree with every bit of this, I have said some of the exact same things! I have five kids at home ranging between high school middle school and elementary, and I’m terrified for next week. Trying to manage all of them even when they’re in school is so difficult let alone trying to manage them out of school and doing it through a device! One parent I know made the comment, there’s only so much technology to go around in their household with two parents now having to work from home. I say just because we have this technology doesn’t mean we have to use it to set up a Google classrooms, virtual classrooms. Really is that the way we want them to learn? if so then we should replace every teacher with a screen and be done. So I agree, and again I am stressed and terrified of over expecting! And trying to focus on too many subjects! A bit of reading a bit of math in my opinion those are the two that we don’t want them to slide on. The others I agree they will catch them up no problem doing some baking Is science doing some coloring is art getting outside with your family is recess, tell Alexa to play your favorite songs this is music, playing some family games is socializing. Praying that it is kept simple easy and not stress increasing but stress reducing everyone is so emotional as it is and we’re not even truly telling kids exactly what’s even going on! They don’t have their routine, they don’t have their friends, all they know is the place They call home they now have to call School! And working parents are already juggling so much now it’s just going to be so much more. I pray for us all to be able to get through this, and come out with our kids progressing through To their Next grade with the strength of the teachers who will welcome them with open arms and be flexible to their situation upon return to the classroom! Forgive me those of you who disagree with my viewpoint it’s just my way of getting it off my chest in preparation for what I pray will be less stressful than I’m anticipating!! On a sidenote with the cancellation of activities and being home, our family is enjoying sit down dinners, talking to one another, and even math games around the table tonight. And when the food and dishes were gone the kids were still sitting there asking for more math problems. Now that is stress free learning!
Rebecca mink says
I have 2 collage students back home and grades 10,7,5,2,k. From 5 th grade up totally on your own with the homework.
I am extremely pleased with our school yesterday they delivered packets for kids in younger grades so no online issues unless you choose that option.
The older 2 (10&7 grades) have school issued laptops, So they are very familiar with how this works.
We have been informed that any work done will only befit their grades and with the younger ones along included in packets a letter stating this is not to cause stress consinder it enrichment opportunities only. They also listed opportunities that are like baking or looking for bugs etc. we are in rural area so not everyone has internet services and getting outdoors isn’t an issue. My younger kids haven’t even noticed they have already been home for 2 weeks, however we farm so they are well entertained. I very seldom hear the words I am bored. So all that being said life here is extremely good however I hit a wall last night. The tipping point mud some little feet repeatedly refused to use back door and came in again with muddy shoes left by a patio door at the end of the dinner table. Trying to get dinner on table and step in mud. I lost it. I thought if I am on edge over this mud and things are so good my kids have been nearly perfect I am a calm chilled person. There are families whose stress has to be off the charts. Home life for many is not pleasant so many layers and levels of stress. I have said to people at the start of all of national disaster domestic violence is going to sky rocket. Many lives are going to be forever changed. Being forced to teach kids at this point for many is not something they can mentally or physically do at this point and only is detrimental. I am afraid that many parents and kids are going to feel like they have failed as parents.
I haven’t been following you for long however the first thing I read was to do with the bus, ponytails, annoying lady.
It made me smile, yep been there. No matter how much you prepare stuff happens. Some situations are just unpredictable. I have learned to smile and wave roll on. Love your parenting spot in my humble opinion.
One little funny
One time at church number 3 discretely pointed out that 6 was laying in pew with her dress up no biggie except she had no underwear she is 8 yrs now and still hates underwear my reaction 😳😬🥴😂😂😂😂 🍋
HR mompreneur says
Wow, you nailed it. I have 4 in 6-8th grades and they are fairly self sufficient. My husband is still working out of the house daily, and i am doing my best trying to run a small HR consulting business from home now and we are being inundated with emergencies from clients now, so much that i am working from about 9am to past 9 or 10pm, even midnight, going on 16 days straight now. Yes, i interact with/ yell at my kids from the dining room and make sure they have school work in progress and they are reading and getting outside exercise. But honestly, i couldnt tell you if they are on pornhub or tiktok all day instead and right now i dont care. I cannot take the time to teach 4 kids how to do schoolwork. But i am teaching one of them each day how to make dinner from start to finish… from scratch or from a box… so long as it gets on the table. In return, ive been getting fresh cookies or muffins every day from the “baker of the day” and random walk-by hugs. We’re cool for now.
Excellent read. Thank you for this! I am a single father raising 2 special needs children both in elementary school. I have to say, I am utterly disappointed with my school districts. I have raised my concerns about the lack of interaction between teacher and student there is. Your article provides me some comfort knowing I am not alone in this in this battle, so I say thank you.
This google classroom, is being utilized similar to today’s ATM machines. Assignments are issued on a weekly basis and it’s the parents job to implement the schedule. I am not against doing it as I see during this time ther really is no other option. However, there has to be some personal interaction with the teacher and student. I suggested a virtual classroom to our principle and then my school district so the children remain engaged. I suggested a mere even an hour a day would be extremely helpful reminding our children that their efforts mean something. Unfortunately I believe the focus is although we are in crisis we need to speak to the teachers because they are going through the same we are.
At a time when we see our emergency service neighbors leaving their families risking everything. I asked my special needs teacher can we set up a virtual classroom that my son would thoroughly enjoy seeing you and he gave me a rubber stamped response. He deferred a human responsibility and said he is following the guidelines issued by the district. I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed I was to hear such a cold response. In any event, I live in Westchester county the highest Property taxed county in the country. Please be assured I will be voting no to all school budgets from this point on. Brave men and woman risk their lives, their families lives every single day to hear the expectations of the district is really upsetting. This is the time for us to come together and I certainly am willing to help in anyway I could. Schools have to realize most parents will not be receiving a paycheck during this time and if the Union together with the school will certainly lose whatever momentum they had for the last 2 facades, I fear more people like me will start to look at our education system as this bottomless pit of bureaucracy and will start to push back. Teachers together with all their staff are paid they need to work period.
Keep in mind that there are so many situations that the district lawyers get involved. As a teacher, I’m not allowed to e-mail my students without 3 or 4 other people ccd, and if I have any sort of online meeting, it has to be on a platform that can be recorded for documentation. We are all scrambling to find ways to connect with our kids, and are constantly being told “no, the district hasn’t approved that, technology hasn’t set it up.” I don’t doubt that the teacher you interacted has been given strict instructions and a canned response. I wasn’t allowed to contact my students for over a week until the district had figured out how they wanted to proceed.
It sounds like they are trying to walk a tightrope, allowing flexibility because every family situation is different. It’s important to also keep in mind that we’ve had to try and reinvent the wheel, restructure everything, try out and learn various forms of technology, figure out ways to assign and communicate something meaningful that will be accessible to our students, and try to assign with flexibility and keeping to the core of the subjects. To say that teachers aren’t working during this time is incredibly dismissive of the intense amount of work we’ve done while many of us are trying to raise our own children of various ages and hoping beyond hope that we don’t get sick.
We are in CRISIS. I understand your frustrations and concerns, but voting to not back the education system will hurt everyone in the long run. Do you want your kids to have smaller class sizes so that they get more help? Do you want funding so that if they need 1 on 1 help, schools can pay para-educators? Do you want to see art programs of any sort? Because those are the first things to go when funding is cut.
It sounds like a frustrating situation all around for you and yours, and I have all the compassion in the world for you. Have grace for yourself. Have grace for your kids’ teachers. When this is all over, I would suggest sending your response on to the district. They are far more likely to listen to parents when it comes to making changes.
I am sorry. Your teachers I’m sure, are doing their best within district and union guidelines. I am in California, and we have similar, yet different guidelines.
I’m just sorry all kids are going through this crap.
Ugh. My kids start this learning platform on Monday. I’m dreading it. I work full time from home, my husband is still working in the outside world. I am dreading it beyond words. My kids – 7th and 3rd grades – are great students… at school. I have a feeling it’s going to be a lot harder from home. Especially with no one on top of them all day. I can only do what I can do between working and helping them. But my paycheck will have to come first.
I feel like I could have written this! Working fulltime from home, husband goes to work every third day, and we have a 3rd grader & 7th grader! We are using Microsoft Teams. It officially started on Monday here after 1 week of Spring break followed 1 week of teachers transitioning while kids/ parents tried to learn how to work Teams. It went into system overload on Monday which we all knew it would, Tuesday wasn’t much better, Wednesday was better but we’re all learning to navigate still, and today (Thursday) is a big improvement from Monday. Everyone’s still learning. It still sucks. My 7th grader isn’t motivated so you have to check every single class with him at least twice a day and my 3rd grader who already struggles needs extra help. Most likely we won’t be back to school this year (last day is 5/29, if they let us go back after 5/1). I think they should call the rest of the year a wash with only enrichment activities and be done – and I work at a school!
I, too, am an educator and am surprised at your cavalier response to education. If I learned anything as a teacher, it is to SET the BAR HIGH. Kids will reach it. When children have parents who are negative or lack adequate supportive advice, kids take on the emotions of the parent. Should we expect kids to do 5 hours a night? No. My students are working from menus of fun home-based activities as well as home science experiments using the scientific method. This is happening around our entire district. I have an hour zoom meeting DAILY with my parents and students, which turns into 2 hour meetings in order to establish a feeling of comfort for both. Just because your experience has been horrible, don’t think all parents feel the same. To call up your child’s teacher and tell them, “My child WILL NOT be doing anything but math,” is a shame. I love that the parents at my school feel like they have a voice and true partnership with us at school. Lastly, your comment about managing different learning levels and (heaven forbid) 5 different personalities…. As a veteran 2nd grade teacher, I’ve NEVER had students on the same level NOR have I complained about the 5 OD or 3ED kids in my classroom of 24 kids because that’s what a GREAT teacher does. She takes what she has and makes each student feel special. Yes, I’ve written letters to my class, meet with them everyday, answer emails/texts from parents and VIDEO myself teaching mini lessons. After reading your ‘blog’ I feel totally blessed I teach at the district I’m am. Your school district or perception of it makes me cringe. Know that THIS, my story, is the norm right now, not what you are describing. Stop being part of the problem, and try being part of the solution!
not your average mom says
I’m wondering if you are willing to share with me the state your are teaching in. I would genuinely love to know.
Yes, this! We started remote learning today. Two hours tops of learning and it was spread out by giving breaks in between subjects. I totally agree that children learn from their parents reactions. From the get-go, we talked about how things will be different, I am not a teacher, and that we would do the very best we can. I dont know of any parent who would promote their child telling their teacher he/she is going to chose what they think is most important to learn…and not participate in the rest. We shouldn’t be raising a generation of quitters but one of determination with the ability to set a goal and achieve it by problem solving and sticking with something to its completion.
not your average mom says
This is clearly your first time here. 🙂 I’m interested to know what your remote learning looks like.
I am a former teacher, am personally an ‘achiever’ type personality, and I have to agree completely with the OP. I find your attitude privileged and cavalier.
In the past four months my ASD son has had his dad move out, and both his grandmother and his dog die. One friend is home with her two special needs children all day, every day, while her spouse works mandatory long hours. Another friend is nursing her MIL in her home, has her SIL and two children living with her, and is trying to support her four children, one of whom has special needs, while her spouse, a doctor, is dealing with horror each day, and had minimal contact with them for safety’s sake. And I could go on and on.
Your assumption that parents like the OP and I do not value education enough, set a positive example for our children, or try hard enough is beyond insulting. Maybe you give excellent academic instruction, but I am thankful that my child’s mental health is not in your hands.
Totally agree! Every household and dynamics are different.
All this time she spent writing this article complaining could have been spent going over the lessons with children. Great use of time lol
not your average mom says
Hey Ty —
This blog is one of the ways I make money to support my family, so if I don’t write blog posts, I can’t buy things like… food.
So it is a good use of my time!
Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
I have to agree with the OP and with Beth. We are in a city district where the schools are almost entirely focused on food (important) and “fairness” (debatable). We have had VERY little communication from the schools on learning, but individual teachers are sending homework every day. Only one teacher is actually teaching, for each of my high-school kids. For the 12th grader, this is fine – she’s graduating (all the poor seniors) and the only good class is the one that’s meeting. For my 10th grader with ASD, this is a disaster.
I work in special education so, like the OP, should have the additional skills needed, but if there is one thing I’ve learned over 16 years of parenting my ASD child, it’s that you can’t be anything but parent to your own child. You can only take advantage of the resources, but you can’t change your role.
That said, a lack of schedule and a lack of direct instruction means the schools EITHER 1. rely on parents to do all the teaching or 2. give up on moving forward in education. Not everyone can be Mrs. Beaver, juggling keeping home life intact and coming up with creative ways to instruct their kids – particularly older kids where reading and math are no longer the mainstay of the curriculum. Nevermind their kids on IEPs.
You ARE lucky, Renee. We don’t all have what you have in your district. And our teachers do not all have what you have at home if you’re continuing to offer such a hefty support system. Your holier-than-thou attack is unwelcome and part of the real problem. We should all be here supporting each other.
I, for one, welcome the OP’s perspective.
Yeah. That’s NOT the reality in our district.
We as parents were threatened with truancy repercussions if our child isn’t logged on EVERY class. EVERY day.
My KINDERGARTENER, now has 8 assignments due via Google Classroom PLUS 30min of math & 30min of reading on istation. PLUS were supposed to go over calendar details & read books daily.
Plus work from home parents
Plus cook all meals & clean.
Plus potty train & manage screen time for nearly 3yr old who sees not just both her big brothers but both parents attached to screens all day.
YOUR experience is not the norm.
Parents need to do what they CAN.
No one is advocating for kids to snack & play video games all day
I agree with you totally! Yes! I get stressed…..I work for the district as well. I’m working from home daily(virtually) and have to be available at any time. I also have a senior, an 11th grader in a specialized IB/dual credit program with extreme amounts ya of work, and a 6th grader who has been using Google Classroom since 3rd grade. This is a very hard time and not the most convenient, but school doesn’t stop because we are doing it from home. Just because it’s hard or stressful doesn’t mean you should be a bad example for your kids. How sad. I’m working all day for the district and helping 3 kids with homework. And I have epilepsy too. I’m not super mom. I’m just a mom who wants the best for my kids. You should be too.
Yes! It is easy to be negative and point out all of the problems. What about teaching kids perseverance and giving them a “hard work will go along way” approach. I am also blessed to have the teachers I have and to expect them to personally call up 20+ kids daily when the author is in tears over her own kids seems like a silly solution. Don’t teachers have kids? Aren’t they working from home TO HELP their classroom? Support the process. Don’t give into negative attitudes and don’t expect things to go perfectly everyday.
Renee, aside from the rude tone (necessary, really?), I can assure you that your district is NOT the norm with a “menu of fun, home-based activities.” I have suggested that we do this exact thing, actually, in our district. The reality has been several hours of navigating Google Classroom and typing—for a 6 year old Kindergartner with an IEP and an 8 year old second grader. You would LOVE to have my 2nd grader in your class. He is a dream student. He is bright, learns quickly, is engaged, and is excited to learn. He spent the first two days of “distance learning” in tears. It took him 20 minutes to type one sentence. These kids don’t know how to type. His teacher returned it to him, and told him to re-do with at least 5 minimum, full-typed sentences, including examples from the text and point of view. I was going crazy trying to help him navigate all of this stuff, meanwhile my Kindergartner, who actually, truly does need a lot of help, was being neglected. Not to mention, I also have to teach my college students (when?)! It’s not good, or normal, or healthy to expect such young children to sit on the computer working several hours a day, and pressuring (i.e. requiring) parents to complete assignments, print worksheets, upload docs and photos etc. to “prove” we’ve done the work. This placed so much more stress on us, and my children, and we really don’t need it. I believe the writer is “refusing” to stress out her children anymore than is necessary, not refusing to educate them. We could be doing so many more meaningful and valuable activities from home, that would ABSOLUTELY be educational, as the writer suggests. We were doing this when I was coming up with my own plans before the formal distance learning requirements rolled out. I’m failing to understand how educating our own children in a way that is meaningful may be equated to being “cavalier” about education?
Thank you, Renee, for saying this. I am also an educator (and a mother of 2 school aged students). I understand the frustration of parents at this time, but frankly I’m sick of “teachers” and the education system always being thre bad guy. In my district, we are adhering to guidelines for the amount of work we are assigning, and the expectations for how much time kids should spend working each day. In addition, if the skills and concepts are new, we are providing video instruction. We meet with our students virtually throughout the week. I think it’s really disheartening to read the opinions represented in the original post after ONE day of distance learning. Please, we are all struggling to adjust. I’m sure your district is trying their best. Communicating with their teachers by stating that your kids won’t be doing the work isn’t productive, it only sends a message to your kids that their teachers shouldn’t be respected. That’s a real problem. If we can’t work as a team, then we are not going to get through this. I think the person who wrote the original post needs to take a step back and be a bit more patient and open minded.
Jennifer Sell says
While I agree with some of your points, Renee – I think you are missing the overall point of this blog. It is laughable to think that I would have time for daily Zoom meetings with my childrens’ teachers that turn into therapeutic two-hour meetings. My husband and I are trying to meet the requirements of our full-time jobs and trying to meet the educational needs of our children. I don’t know what OD or ED means. I don’t even know what “menus of fun home-based activities as well as home science experiments using the scientific method” would looks like. How blessed is your family that you have educational background, time and resources to be able to do those things. Most of us don’t. I would encourage you to check your privilege at the door before you knock down others for making the best of their situation.
Thank you, Renee! I am also a teacher and I echo your sentiments! I love and miss my students and will do whatever it is to help them and their families make this time of crisis full of fun, laughter, and even learning, because I CAN!
I’m so sorry others don’t feel the same way. This teacher IS working hard to support my students.
I still provide meaningful learning experiences and also some that aren’t curriculum related. I encourage my families to NOT spend the entire day at the computer, but to also engage in activities together – baking, cooking, reading, movies, outside play, board games, taking a walk, etc.
not your average mom says
Your students are lucky kids!
The only ones in agreement with the privilege that Renee exhibits is that they too are educators. I thank you so much for for your years of investing into our children, as I’ve always said that it’s a job I could never do.
But let me speak to MY area of expertise to perhaps shed some light on why your comment is a cheap shot from the high horse you sit on directed at the very families that the OP is speaking to:
I am a Nurse. I am a single mother of two boys, ages 11 and 13 who both have been with me full time since this crisis presented itself- one month now of Social Distancing in our home. An additional factor that makes our situation unique is that my boys’ grandfather to who they are very close was hospitalized for 2 weeks in the ICU where we were told to brace ourselves because he was more than likely not going to make it.
I’m fortunate that my career path took me to an leadership role on the corporate level where I assist with 50 hospitals nationwide that specialize in critical care patients. I’m working full time from home providing support to our hospitals, implementing new policies damn near every other day as information we learn about this deadly virus seems to evolve nonstop.
As I’m sure you’ve seen, with exception to the “Hot Spots”- hospitals are very slow. I’ve been with my company for 4 years and feel that I’m a high risk for the chopping block given the ongoing low census.
Renee, have you not seen that statistics rising showing the increase in mental health decline that is spreading like wildfire? The numbers of Americans that have filed for unemployment? Suicide hotline calls have quadrupled in many states.
So please- just stop. I already feel like I’m failing my children right now as I juggle their Google Classrooms, my 14H days, supporting their fears that they’ll lose their grandpa, cooking nutritional meals, siblings fighting, special needs child… and you comment that we need to stop complaining just doubled down on these feelings.
Show more love. That’s what we need at home.
Thank you! I feel like you’ve given me permission to follow my gut. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Sharing with every parent I know!
Hi! What state are you in? Im wondering because in Texas, there are requirements regarding the continuation of lessons in order to receive funding. If the school districts loosen up as you suggest, then districts won’t have money to pay employees. Not saying I disagree with your assessment of how things are going or should go, just pointing out that in many cases, the audience for this appeal is not the school districts, but the state making the money rules. I’m grateful our teachers can still earn a wage right now.
Im in Texas & i think we need a movement to wave those requirements for 30-60days.
It should freeze at current levels.
If this was a tornado or earthquake NO ONE would be asking us to pile this on our plates.
You focus on safety & being as normal as possible.
Just bc you can’t see this virus, doesn’t make it less of an emergency
I love this so much. Thank you for sharing your experiences and perspective. This is where I’m leaning with my kids too. My first-grade son is enjoying drawing several hours each day, building with Legos, and reading. Frankly I think he is enjoying being home more than he liked school this year because of some difficult kids who were in his class. My seventh-grade daughter is struggling a bit like you mentioned because she’s trying to do pre-algebra more or less on her own. I’m encouraging her to do what she can but not worry about the teacher’s arbitrary deadlines and the excessive extra work he’s assigning. Luckily my husband can help her with the math. Anyway it is reassuring to hear all this from another mom.
This article is completely for an entitled person. We are in an extreme situation.
So what you prefer to happen?
Your children dont learn? Of course your children are going to whine and try to get away with things. They are home.
However, you are the parents set rules. Take away electronics until the work is done.
As a former teacher, my twin sons with Asd , o.cd, o.d.d and other health issues try everything under the sun to get out of it and it doesn’t matter that I was a teacher to them I’m still mom. They listen better to all their teachers, therapists and behaviorists.
However they are awake every day by 930, eat breakfast, come to the table to work for two hours or so.
Its routine no work no extras.
We need to stop whining and teach our kids. None of this is fair but this is life right now and we need to show our kids structure and that we are in control so atleast they have some type of normalcy. Omg stop crying parents grow up ve parents. Its not forever! But it is for your child. Are they not worth your best effort,
That’s wonderful that you are home and can help your kids. BUT- to all these teachers who are responding- teaching is your job! What about these parents who leave the house all day to work or have to work from home? Now give them the added work of being a teacher for hours onto their 8 hour jobs! Here’s another scenario-I am a grandparent raising 2 kids, 10 & 7. Do you think I get any of this stuff? We use our phones as computers, and don’t own a laptop. We send our grands to a private Catholic school ($$$) which has chrome books, but won’t let any of the kids take them home! (Personally, for the cost of tuition, I think each kid should have been given one!) I’ve tried to purchase one, but every store is out of them, due to other parents buying them. I’m just at a loss right now as to the math ( common core might as well be rocket science to me). The teachers email, but that’s only if we or they have a complaint.
Wow. In comparison to where I am currently located in RI, in full distance learning/teaching as a seasoned middle school teacher, I am sorry for your awful experience -our district was ready, our scholars were ready, our families were provided the best possible forms of communication and devices from our schools to support their kids and that’s all we expect of parents, support. My son is in 4th grade at the elementary school while I teach7tj grade at the middle school (it’s a mayoral charter school serving 2 very low income cities and 2 mid/upper income towns), it has been tricky to balance the home life school life aspect but we’re learning together. I also have a preschooler…things are tough, but we work through it and persevere. I have to agree with other moms and educators on here when I say your spending too much time worrying and complaining versus showing strength and determination for success of yourself and your children. Don’t teach them the easy way out, teach that when things are tough you are tougher, smarter and stronger even if you need breaks and fun enjoyable activities in between. Don’t be hard on yourself or your children but you know their capabilities, dont lessen that for them! That is a complete disservice.
Hi, My name is Stephanie. Thank you for writing this article. Today was day one if the hell of computer based learning. You’re absolutely right – I had to sit down with my soon to be 13-year-old, seventh grader, and listen to his math teacher try (God bless him) to explain everything to these kids (50) of them were online at the same time, and be interrupted every five seconds from one Kid to another. Even my son, put it on mute because he said they’re so disrespectful. Then, after we got off of the computer, I had to sit here and teach my son how to do the lesson. Now mind you, I have not been in school for 32 yrs. Wth?
Along with these two geometry lessons, we have a two page essay to write plus other items in one day. That’s just day one. My nerves are so bad today that I feel like I’m gonna climb through the roof. And nowadays in school they teach nothing about how Mac or how to live life or any basic things. Not to mention how to write a basic essay. Along with these two geometry lessons, we have a two page essay to write plus other items in one day. That’s just day one. My nerves are so bad today that I feel like I’m gonna climb through the roof. And nowadays in school they teach nothing about how to live life or any basic things. Not to mention how to write a basic essay. As we know, Florida is the worse! Ugggggg
Stop whining, please… try your best and understand that nothing in life is fair. Also, teach your children through Scripture, learn how to pray together for guidance, as a Family.
I can totally relate to this article and I said if I made the decision to homeschool on my own our baking together at night etc would be fractions or doing gardening would be in science not 5 different sites to get into and do assignments and 4 different classes as elementary students. We have full on virtual learning for 3 weeks now. We have melt downs everyday from all of us ; so I can totally relate to that also. I thank god am a stay at home mom but both my children in school are 2 grade levels apart and both have paras and special education in school. At home they have way more distractions and it’s a different dynamic with a teacher and a parent with learning. Then to add that I have a 5 year old (as of march 23rd) that needs attention too. Plus in New Jersey it’s been decently cool and rainy and none of their other activities so were stuck in the house fully which doesnt help. My husband is a conductor and is an essential worker and I feel like its dangerous and worrisome for him to be on those trains right now also. I feel like the staff at their school has gone above and beyond for sure and I dont want that misconstrued either but I dont feel like this extensive work is right for my family in this time but I believe it’s all mandatory they track all their work and attendance for each day. I can see them having some lessons so they dont fall behind as being fair but that’s about it. Thanks for this so I know I’m not alone or I dont feel like maybe I’m just not “up to par” with school anymore (since I have to do every single assignment with them) and I feel like it’s an episode are you smarter than a 5th grade haha
Same as Erin and Beth above. We have mandatory distance learning and it’s been brutal. It would be MUCH more meaningful to provide a menu with optional learning activities that families can do at home. I have two small children, 2nd and K, with an IEP and a team of 10 (!) who works with him at school. I am one person. I cannot possibly be expected to take the place of an entire team who has received years of training, plus keep up with regular Kindergarten work, plus work with my 2nd grader, who initially had assignments such as “type a full page narrative” within a few hours (it’d be lofty of me to expect this of my college students, and they are computer literate–and actually know how to type!). The expectations are out of control and it would be SO much more meaningful to have assignments like the author suggests. I was actually doing really well “homeschooling” both kids with educational activities that we could all do together, modified for each one’s level, and we were all happy! It’s been extremely stressful to have these mandatory expectations put on us, while my husband and I both still need to work our regular jobs. It’s actually insane. At one point last week, we were on our 3rd hour of staring at the computer screen (remember, we’re talking about a 6 & 8 year old), watching videos of trees and animals (which they liked, but shouldn’t be “required” work), and I thought, this is just ridiculous! I shut the computer down and took them outside to hunt for worms and look at trees in real life! Which experience do you feel made them happier? Which was more valuable to a young child?
I agree with a lot of what you are saying and can relate. But I am an educator in Michigan right now. We are given directives from our administration on what we are able to do. I am sure this is what other districts are experiencing right now as well. As a former educator you should understand there are many times our hands are tied and we have to do what the district/state mandates.
I have 6 kids at home. My concern is I’m spread way to thin and I’m now beginning to see some of my kids struggle because I can’t be the person they need me to be right now. If they don’t get the work done will they get in trouble or get held back? My older two are doing fine as long as I stay on their case and my 6th grader is struggling a lot because I was so focused on the younger three and didn’t realize she needed me so much. She’s a very visual learner as are two of my younger kiddos. How do I get through all of this?
Hi. So I agree with this article BUT I just wanted to say something from another perspective. A lot of teachers right now get what this blogger is saying. A lot of teachers in my school right now are trying to figure out how to get this platform up and running for the parents and administrators who are demanding it.
The department of ED is going to want to see proof that I was delivering services according this child’s IEP!
We have not heard from some kids. We are reaching out in every way we can but the reality is we may not get through.
We have the obstacles that are listed in this article in spades! All of the kids in my school have IEPs, learning disabilities, and physical disabilities. IEPs are legal documents. Schools are obligated to provide education that is fair and accessible. It is the law. We have to run around like chickens without heads because we do. We have parents signing up for chromebooks and then they don’t show up to pick them up. We have parents that don’t speak English. Some of these kids get PT 5 days a week! I don’t even want to think of the struggles these kids are having without getting PT.
For a lot of the kids on my caseload, they can’t participate in baking bread, they can’t help sort utensils, they can’t read my email. They do not have access and we ARE trying to get them access.
And I HAVE to worry about this on top of teaching my own kids. Because I miss them. And I am worried about them. They are my kids, too.
I know the services I am being asked to deliver is a sham, nothing like what an OT would provide onsite. I see kids 2-3 times a week as an OT and am asked to provide support for these families that reflect this service delivery. And that brings me to another thought I had:
As I said a lot of my kids are not logging in. BUT their parents are! Because in my school, the parents are looking for help, they are advocates! They don’t want their kids to REGRESS. It took a lot of hard work to get these kids to make progress.
Trust me when I say, your teachers will be understanding if you cannot complete all of the activities. Communicate with them, send them the email that you are stressed and this is too much and ask them to slow it down. They can relay that to their administrators. Contact your lawmakers!
This is such a complicated situation.
To all of those educators who have written in disagreement to this article I wonder if any of you have seriously considered the emotional state of the majority of our children right now? If you have, would you not agree that stress impacts a child’s ability to learn?
For parents, if your child is not experiencing emotional stress right now-kuddos to you. However, as an educator with over 20 years of experience I would argue that this current climate is not an ideal learning climate. This is not about “sucking it up” and forcing more academics. This is a time for us to be supporting our children during one of the most stressful times in their lifetimes. Prior to this epidemic, The World Health Organization estimated that by 2030 the number one health crisis would be Anxiety and Depression, over cancer and heart disease. I wonder how all this focus on Academics will serve our youth then.
Teaching is an art-it is more than content. It is about relationship, modifications, creativity and differentiation. SOME kids will academically do fine during this new way of instruction but the percentage is small. I worry about majority of those that won’t.
When I connect with my students virtually on a daily basis we spend time talking about how they are feeling. They are overwhelmed, scared, and lost. If we truly want to teach them maybe we should meet them where they are at.
As a single mother who hasn’t been earning a paycheck for the last three weeks, this has been nothing short of a nightmare. An idiotic STEAM project that is required to be shown on a zoom by my terrified 9 year old, in tears. Not making her do the zoom. Taking 300 photos of busywork and emailing them to teachers each day, who just won’t stop with the perpetual virtual insanity. Two laptops for 3 children and 1 adult frantically searching for some magical work from home job; because going out and working for Amazon would only pay for a sitter.
Who will take my children when I become ill? The state?
I’m not a person who relies on school as childcare. I take them and pick them up each day. Do the homework, cook the dinner, then leave for work while they’re getting ready for bed… they only have to see the babysitter for an hour per day.
I’m involved. I’ve developed the utmost patience in parenting. All three are high honor roll students.
But this ‘homeschooling’ nonsense has me wanting to officially withdraw them from the school system entirely and go rogue. Little House on the Prairie style.
Just my two cents.
Hang in there all. And ease up on each other. Some of these comments are brutal. We’re all allowed opinions and emotions.
Hi! Just wanted to chime in that in New Jersey, the Department of Education is dictating what is required from teachers and school districts. How I feel about what parents “should” or “shouldn’t” be doing doesn’t matter. So, in my state, your letter to the teacher telling her that you’re basically opting out would be a cause for alarm and stress on that teacher’s part because she needs to make sure all of her students are learning. Unfair? Yes. Unreasonable? Of course. But just as we are held to standards when the kids are in school, we are being held to standards when they are at home, as well. That being said, I completely agree that parents have to do whatever works for the sanity and well-being of their own families. Just know that in some places, teachers will still be held responsible.
My children have been out of school for many years however my 1st grade grandchild was given packets of schoolwork from her teacher for the first two weeks and today started Google School. She loves it. My daughter started morning “school hours” right from the start for both her children (4 year old too), they have fun breaks and creative projects in-between the work. It’s not easy, my daughter was laid off from two jobs, her husband is working from home, kids are missing their friends and group activities but life goes on. I guess my question is – whatever happened to parents taking some responsibility especially during a crisis? If a parent decides that the curriculum is not necessary or too hard, what will happen to that child come September? I would think he/she will be at a disadvantage. If you don’t know how to navigate google school or the curriculum is difficult, watch a tutorial with your child, learn together. Please keep in mind you are preparing your children for the “real” world and in my opinion being lackadaisical with structured curriculum will not help them. Honestly if one of my adult children were complaining like some of you, I would tell them to stop whining and act like a parent.
I do understand some children may have a learning disability and need extra help – maybe shorten the time for schoolwork and increase the activity time. Try zoom.com (it’s free) for classmates to socialize or connect with their class reading buddy and have them read to each other.
I don’t know you, but I love you. Thank you for writing this.
Ron Fischbach says
You have nailed it! There is more to learn from building better families, becoming efective partners in understanding our shared emotions, and progressing through this challenge of a lifetime.
As an educator I’d encourage family members to find time to talk to one another, read together, and play together. The family for all too long has played second fiddle to work, organized sports, and technology. Don’t worry about the curriculum and stay in touch with your gut. We will all get through this together!
I am with you. My husband I are both now out of work. No pay nothing we lost insurance and the only thing I am doing right now is day in and day out is filing papers and phone calls to get assistance and stop payments etc. I’m in the middle of a breakdown and my kindergarten child is getting things I can’t deal with right now. I have her working on ABC mouse and other work books and she is at a grade level ahead thank god. But I could not imagine it any other way. I also have a two year old. And a husband who now sleeps all day on the couch so this is all soo stressful. I will do my best to log in but honestly we Are in a pandemic, it’s called that for a reason.
My gosh there are a lot of rude and judgmental comments on here.
The fact of the matter is that every family is different, every school district is different, and every child is different. Just because something works for you and not someone else, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
I have a 15 yo that I rarely have to check on, and a 6th grader that I have to check every single thing. I work as a para for the school district so I get to be at home to help and make sure things are done, every day. My 6th grader has his normal work load. In this crisis, I believe that is unfair to families who are not together all day and kids who do not have at home support. Sure, in my house it’s doable, albeit difficult. The reality is that the kids are not in school. They are home. They are not all sitting at desks with teachers there to guide minute by minute. Do I want learning to be done with altogether? No, I don’t think that’s the goal of any parent on this thread. It’s just a fact that, in our district, teachers are not teaching, they are sending home curriculum to learn on their own. Home is not school anymore than school is home. Do my kids have to do the work? Yes. Do I think it’s too much to expect the same at home as at school? Yes. Again, especially for those kids who do not have adults home during the day to help, and have to cram 2-5 hours of schoolwork into the evening. Then add in the kids who have parents/guardians who don’t care. The kids with special needs. There is just too much diversity to expect one way to work for all. So have your opinion, but center it back to it being based on your situation, and stop with the criticizing. Someone stated that the author is part of the problem. And judgement and unkind remarks are?? So your situation or opinion is different. That doesn’t make someone of another opinion wrong or a bad example. Clearly everyone’s objective is doing what’s best for your child…that is going to be different for everyone.
These are unprecedented times. Do I like having to homeschool? Nope. Do I blame the teachers? Nope. Am I going to keep my child’s mental health top priority? You bet. Am I going to support their education the best way I can? Absolutely. Am I going to judge others for doing it differently. No way, because I’m not arrogant enough to think I’m doing it better than anyone.
Right on, Angela!
You are spot on 💯! I think parents should maybe have the option of being presented with the specific academic standards that are expected to be mastered by their children by the end of this distance learning situation (eg. “Your child must be able to name and explain the 3 types of matter”). I fully understand and expect my kids would have to take a placement test showcasing mastery of these standards prior to advancing to the next grade. But, then it would be wonderful if I was at least given the option to teach them these standards in whatever way or using whatever methods worked best for US and was able to create a learning schedule that makes the most sence for our family. Offering specific curriculum guides and activities is great for some parents who desire or may even need it in order to ensure their kids learn what they need to. But the flexibility to help my kids learn it in a way that is most conducive to our family maintaining any sense of calmness or sanity would be so appreciated (versus, “this specific assignment must be Virtually submitted by this time in order to receive credit”). Does that make sense?
I appreciate your post and My wife and I are in the same boat with twin 5th graders. They are polar opposites in personality and learning ability. My daughter is extremely intelligent, but needs a lot of motivating. My son is intelligent in his own way, but is more social and is missing his friends.
My wife and I both are able to telecommute, so we’re at home, but we have to work during business hours. Now we’re trying to balance that with having to help them with lots of schoolwork, and the last time I was in 5th grade was in 1980. It’s very difficult to keep it up every day.
Our school district doesn’t require the work to be done, but will use it to help their final 3rd quarter average and to get them ready for middle school next year. I think we’ll probably have to slow the pace though and just work on it a little at a time throughout the Summer.
Their teachers and administrators are doing the very best they can, and I have no criticism to direct toward them. We will get through this together.
All I can say, is that a special educator, I understand the frustration. As teachers we are doing what the district has mandated us to do. I am emailing my students (junior high) every couple of days. I am checking grades every day. I am holding Google Meets every day (which the kids don’t usually join). I am tired, I am frustrated, and I am caught between the students, the regular ed teachers, and the administration. We have all been placed in an impossible situation. I am worried about the students that I haven’t heard from since we started this almost three weeks ago. I am tired of being blamed for the work that the regular ed teachers will and will not accept. It seems like none of this is every going to end. I get it. I think we need to work together and communicate with each other. Show some compassion and understanding. We could all be a lot more understanding and empathetic during this time. That’s just my two-cents worth.
I experienced so many emotions reading the article and everyone’s comments. Some people want more and some people want less. It is truly a no win situation for teachers. This is new for all of us. Teachers are also working from home and most of them have children at home who are also being home schooled as well. Please let’s not point fingers and play the blame game or try to prove whose day is the most stressful. We are all stressed right now. Teachers are doing the best they can with the resources they have. They are told they must provide things for their students. They are trying to follow their state or district guidelines. However, as parents it is up to you to decide whether to have your child do it or not. Does that mean the teacher is not working? They are working. Believe me, the teachers hate this too. They want to be back in the classroom. They want to be instructing their students. Do what is best for your family and let’s all try to get through this together.
So I’m a teacher (high-school English), and also a single mom to a preschooler and a first-grader, both with Down syndrome. To date my older one has gotten a weekly blizzard of recommended but optional resources and activities, and the expectations have been ramping up. Both of my kids really thrive on routine, and now their routine is gone and it’s hard to explain why. My little one, who’s nonverbal, is having crying fits. My older one repeatedly tells me that “school is sick” and frequently withdraws to hide in my bed. Their teachers have been amazing, offering contact and support, but the expectation that instruction will continue as usual is unreasonable and offensive. It’s not that I “don’t value” their education. But they’re learning daily–what “sick” means and how to prevent yourself from getting sick, how to cope with adversity, how to resolve conflict even when you’re sick to death of each other. We’ve done obstacle courses, hikes in the woods, art projects…I bought a small bounce house and a sandbox. I get that state departments of ed are handing down guidelines and administrators are issuing directives for teachers, but it is MY job as a parent to protect my children’s sanity and happiness FIRST. I’m not going to give into these crazy fears that my children will be “behind” (behind what? Everyone’s in the same boat). When my kids look back on this time, I want them to remember drawing strength from our family, having fun, being resourceful, staying safe. If they don’t walk away knowing the features of nonfiction text, I’m good with that. I think the OP is spot-on, and I think we run a huge risk when we assume that “education” can only happen at school and that we need to sacrifice everything on that alter.
spot on ! i’m not a parent nor a educator. but as an older sister, i’m apart of the picture. it’s our responsibility to help each other out. having a younger sister with down syndrome and two younger brothers with autism. my mother is exhausted. my dad is wondering how to deal with finance. is there any food, necessities. where to buy freaking toilet paper and menstrual products. life is not easy… it’s a tough time trying to help my parents who haven’t done schooling in english ! my mom and i trying to teach each other how everyone’s learning systems are like. i wish i was the teacher with a life put together… somehow. now it’s my education and three of my siblings. my parents don’t have that type of time. i totally understand, while writing and reading this i’m starting at my younger two siblings. it’s also really scary when people u know live around the world in dangerous places. italy…the us. when bombs were getting hit across the street. war. my parents were kids and home holding on to each other, somehow gathering money to survive. there was no ‘online school’. from what they say, that’s where they learnt the most from in life. prioritizing our health and family. i’m not hear to vent but some of the comments aren’t showing any diversity. maybe all we need is some empathy.
not your average mom says
Wow Ariana! Your parents and your siblings are lucky to have you. I’m sure they are extremely proud of you, and I hope you are super proud of yourself as well.
not your average mom says
Thank you, Jen. I really appreciate your thoughts. Hang in there!
Many teachers are also parents and having deal with this at both ends. I hope that this causes parents to be more engaged in future: picking the curriculum, helping with homework, modeling good hygiene and teaching basic social skills. Some parents are also tired because this is the most that THEY have had to engage their kids. I mean many of us have “planned and activitied” our kids every waking moment: travel ball teams, band, gymnastic/tap/jazz/ hip-hop, etc. So we see our kids yet may not know our kids. We forget how much energy it actually takes to really engage our kids. We will never get this time back with our kids. Make memories. I don’t want the lasting memory for my kids to be I complained the whole time. Its a PANDEMIC. Was world wide highly contagious airborne disease accounted for in any IEP or 504 plan? The school system can’t be the scapegoat for that. We all had other plans. Its all very heartbreaking.
not your average mom says
I agree it’s heartbreaking and I also agree that many people have planned and activitied our kids to death. Thanks for your feedback. 🙂
I wanted to bring up another situation that has not been thought of, parents who are trying to do this who are battling illnesses. I myself am have chronic illnesses and now must find a way to manage the educational needs of my 9th grade son who has an IEP and my 1st grade son who was on the verge of being retained and needed all the extra resources he could get. This unrealistic to put these demands on a parent. My husband is deemed essential and works extremely long hours. Seems this needs to be reassessed.
Teachers in CT says
While I totally understand and respect the challenges that all families are having during this time, I find this post to be inaccurate and also dispiriting to teachers who are grinding away day and night to try to provide lessons and plans to benefit their students.
Firstly, the grand sweeping statement of teachers only providing curriculum is not true in any district that I have encountered (in CT for reference). The districts that I know which are providing distance learning are pushing out plans, schedules, videos, lessons, activities, and are scheduling synchronous learning opportunities for their students.
Second, there are many districts doing minimal (similar to your “plan” of emails, letters, suggestions for baking), and have put out some options but that’s it. Let me tell you, in those districts there are families who are upset, and who feel like they are flailing and are so worried about their children not having a quality resource for academic achievement at home. There are also districts around here where spring break has been scheduled, and families are in an uproar about not wanting the one week break from distance learning. There is no “one way” of learning from home that is going to work for everyone, and there’s always going to be someone who is unhappy with the way it’s working for them and their family (and they should definitely vocalize this, but to the proper source!).
Districts around us are also being very clear that during this time it’s “family first” and to make choices based on your family’s needs or reach out if you’re feeling overwhelmed (not post unconstructive criticism to the open public). Consider the teachers reading this and these comments, and the impact it has on them and their morale as they continue to try their best to help their students from afar, while manage their own families, homes, health, and worries
As Americans rally behind medical professionals, food service workers, delivery personnel, police, fire, and EMTS, it is so disheartening to read such negatively directed at education specialists who are trying their best to do the right thing and keep students engaged and learning. So in closing, I urge that if you have a concern about how your child’s distance learning plan works with your current circumstance, please reach out to their teachers or administrators. They want to help, and they would much rather hear it from you personally, than read it posted on social media in a diatribe of disheartening commentary.
not your average mom says
Perhaps it’s inaccurate where you are, but I am in CT also, and it was not inaccurate in my experience.
The guidelines coming from my school district for my 4th grader are:
Fourth Grade Suggested E-Learning Timing
Attendance Question – 5 minutes
Math Workshop – 30 minutes
Writing Workshop – 30 minutes
Open Court – 15 minutes
Reading Workshop – 30 minutes
Science or Social Studies – 30 minutes
Special – 30 minutes
(One per day – P.E., Music, Art, Media Center, Spanish)
***Students are encouraged to read for 30 minutes in addition to the
That’s 3 hours and 20 minutes per day. It is almost three times the amount of time it is taking my 8th grader to do her work. It’s twice as long as my 5th grader.
I have still not received any wording that encourages family first. The wording coming from the admininstration is “If you are finding your child is spending more than the recommended minutes per subject area, please contact your child’s teacher.”
Initially none of it could be completed independently, there was no video, my kids had no idea how to do anything they were supposed to do, and it was a lot of new content that I had to guide my kids through.
I contacted the classroom teacher. I contacted the principal who told me assignments were not optional and to contact the superintendent. I emailed the superintendent.
I am not anti-teacher in any way. I don’t think this is coming from teachers. It’s too much for districts that have not already been set up for this, and it is too much for many parents. For all parents? No, but definitely for many.
And the workload is still a lot for 9 year olds. 3+ hours in front of a screen is a long time.
It is not manageable for many families right now.
I’m happy to say that things have changed for my 3rd grader and the expectations were greatly reduced after the first week. My 4th grader’s teacher has been amazing as far as guiding him through work directly on a Google doc. She is single and has no kids, so I imagine it’s considerably more manageable for her than for my 3rd grader’s teacher who has three young kids at home.
This was not an anti-teacher post. The post was directed at those who are in charge. At the administration. And perhaps their hands are tied, too.
I have a platform to express something millions of parents are experiencing now, so I’m putting it out there. Maybe it pisses people off.
But maybe it’s also opened the eyes of some people who are unaware of what is going on at home.
There are, in fact, many teachers and administrators who agree with this post and support it!
As I said in my post, I appreciate the Herculean effort of teachers and administrators during this time.
Nurse Mom says
“Consider the teachers reading this and these comments, and the impact it has on them and their morale as they continue to try their best to help their students from afar, while manage their own families, homes, health, and worries“
I challenge you to consider the parent’s reading the educator’s comments telling us to suck it up. I did not feel this was an attack on teachers. My boys’ teachers have been nothing short of amazing and I’ve tested up on many occasions with the support they’ve given.
As a nurse, I’d love to see you thrown into a healthcare setting managing 5 patients without any prior training …. and then also work in your seasoned profession as an educator.
See the point? We’re being asked to take on something we have zero background in. My experience so far is just an influx of assignments provided Sunday with a due date- how much time should I allow each day? No clue. Oh snap! New invite for Zoom on my 5th grader in 20 minutes… shit. The 8th grader is already using the computer and is in a zone on that assignment.
Oh! Let’s add the stress that my boys’ grandfather is in the ICU with Covid. I may be furloughed bc hospital census is down.
Thank you for all you do from the bottom of my heart, but I think you missed the point entirely.
I completely agree. I’m not in a position to teach my child and the assignments are so specific. GC is not friendly. I’m stressed beyond belief. And I’m a single mom trying to prove my worth at work after very large furlough’s.
They should make it optional. So many platforms are free right now. Have them log into those different types of things and practice math/reading/maybe writing.
But building a solar oven for science? I don’t have time for it. And he is getting a “fail” in science this week.
He’s a special ed child with and IEP. They can’t meet his minutes, I don’t expect them to. But don’t expect him to get his work done either.
And history? We are making that now. No need to learn it right now.
I just wish they would make things optional. I appreciate your blog.
Essential Worker says
This hits home for me as my wife and I both have essential careers which takes us out of the house every day and then we have 3 kids that have this GC work which at times makes no sense. My 10 year old daughter submitted her work very proudly only to get a snarky comment back from a teacher who didn’t even go over the assignment materials as she had done exactly what was asked of her in the assigment which we made very clear to this teacher to which he responded “oh I am sorry I jad not seen the work example” WTF is it optional for them too. Then I have 7 year old twins where one needs some additional help yet no accomodations were made for that. Why is it that the charter schools, which are also public schools, are having virtual classes everyday but our public schools cannot ? The key is the law states the school district only needs to show they made and effort for them to receive their tax dollars however, effort is not defines and therefore minimal effort is therefore acceptable.
I know many people would call me crazy but if I was in charge I would have started the summer vacation last week Monday, keep the kids home until July, have them then go back to school to get an actual education to finish their last semester then a short break and then go right into the new school year. This way we will not have an entire generation of school kids starting a new school year after.missing an entire semester of teaching putting them behind from day 1. I am sure some would argue well what about our summer plans to which I would answer well what about those spring break plans people had or those birthday parties that our kids could not have or celebrating our faiths with our communities, these are extraordinary times and they call for extraordinary measures and we just need to play the hand we have been dealt and get through this as at some point it will be over and things will slowly return to the new normal but why should our kids education, the future of our country be denied a real education. I would also put this out there.
Justin R cornelius says
Oh thank God I’m not the only one feeling this stress i work all day and then come home just to walk my 3 kids step by step how to do their work on Google classroom when I don’t even know, not to mention we have a baby that needs attention all day and then to top it off the teachers need to have live zoom meetings with our kids. I don’t wana sound like I have anything to hide but I feel like this is a major invasion of privacy in my house. we are going through the most dark days of this century and this system our schools are making us comply with is driving my house even more crazy then we were before