School districts, principals and teachers have begun to reach out their district families about distance learning. Teachers are rushing to learn how to use new online platforms, to best engage students from many miles away, and to create online communities.
Some parents are grateful for these learning opportunities. Students are hungry for knowledge and for something to do during the quarantine.
Other parents question the necessity of distance learning. I have seen tongue-in-cheek meme after meme about ignoring the idea of homeschooling while letting kids watch Disney+ all day while eating ice cream. It breaks my heart that parents would think so little about learning.
As a teacher who is also a mom, I feel it. I am juggling job of teaching with three little kids who can’t leave the house and want to play with their friends. They miss their teachers, their school playgrounds, and schedule. Our daily walks are the farthest they venture away from home now.
Here are a few things I want to share as a mom who sits on both sides of the computer during distance learning.
Teachers are all about your kid!
We are teachers because we love learning. We love sharing it with young minds and love to see what they create. Teachers miss their students over spring break and during the quarantine. We are excited to hear from your kid and re-engage their learning!
Learning is meaningful.
Time off is learning lost. As a teacher, I am looking to create lessons that will be relevant, important, and help them stay on track for their academic careers. Students will go on to next year, and it is important to prepare them. I don’t know how long any of this will last, but if we know that “summer slump” (the knowledge lost during summer break) exists, imagine what a long quarantine could do.
Schools know times are tough.
Schools are well aware that times have changed. Some families are struggling with paychecks lost. Simple survival might trump learning. Other households have limited access to computers, internet, and many kids may have to share with their siblings and working family members. Keeping school going is going to be hard.
Hopefully teachers are offering your child some freedom with asynchronistic learning. This means you can log in any time for pre-recorded messages. Work does not have to be done at a specific hour, but students should keep pace with it. As a parent, you can work your child to set realistic goals and a schedule for learning.
Things will be imperfect.
Teachers are learning as we go. This is the first time for most of us that we are on tape with an audience far greater than we’ve seen before. While parents have been in classrooms before, every second of our instruction is now televised. We will pause, make faces, misspeak and correct ourselves. Everything is now up for scrutiny. In the words of my principal, “Laugh at what goes wrong, and know that we’ll keep trying.”
Parents make the best partners.
As much as you can, please support your child. Work with them, check their online grade books and make sure they are doing the work. If they see your high expectations, we all will see greater results.
When we left classes for spring break, schools had a rhythm and schedule that kids were used to. That normalcy and routine are now gone, but online learning can bring some of it back.