As I went for my morning walk today, the street was very empty. I usually walk to the elementary school and back. When I got to the school, I was flooded with thoughts. How is this working? You see the school is E-M-P-T-Y. In March, when most schools were getting ready for Spring Break, Spring Break got extended for an additional week while the teachers and administrators figured out how to move ALL schooling on line because of COVID-19.
My children are 25, 20, and 18. The 25 year old is working on her doctorate in Virginia and she is doing so on-line right now from her apartment in Virginia. My 20 year old is a junior at Colorado School of Mines. His classes were moved to on line so he came home to stay with us for a while and he takes all his classes on line. My 18 year old is a senior in high school and finished in December before all this madness. He’s the one child that doesn’t want to “walk” for graduation, so in a way this whole on line school thing doesn’t effect me a whole lot.
But my friends?!? One friend is still working 8-5 Monday through Friday. She has a 6th grader, a 5th grader and a pre-schooler. When asked how do you do this? She replied, “I call them a billion times a day to ensure they’re doing their work and I’m checking in with their teachers regularly.”
I don’t know. For some strange reason, I thought the teachers would set up a Zoom classroom and they’d be on with their teachers from 8-4. But that’s not how it works. They have lots of assignments on Schoology, Freckle, Dream Box, Epic, and some Google classroom. That’s a LOT of self-discipline on the part of the child. Especially the child whose parents are still working. I can’t really even wrap my head around this.
I have another friend who has 5 children to oversee. She was told she was a non-essential worker (hair dresser.) I beg to differ. So she is at home to oversee 5 different children and their curriculum. The oldest is self disciplined and is able to get her work done on her own, but the other 4 take some supervision. She says, “It’s been hectic.” You think? As much as she wants to be working right now and really needs to be working right now to pay her bills, she says “it’d be a nightmare working right now.” Imagine, she’s at work and 5 kids are at home “doing their schoolwork.” What could go wrong?
A couple of things to note: if a student did not have access to a computer, the school district had a Microsoft Surface tablet that could be checked out. If a student did not have internet access at home, Charter/Spectrum offered them free internet services. Our area does have it’s fair share of low-income residents so computers and internet could be a big need.
I wondered what the kids thought about all this. Did they like being at home? You know sometimes it’s tough to get them up and off to school, so maybe they were really enjoying being at home. Not so. Both of my friends said their kids hate it. They wish they were in class with their teacher and classmates.
Now when my youngest was in 5th grade, I home-schooled him. Often he could finish his school work in 2 to 3 hours. This is the case for the 3rd grader. He’s done in 2 hours. He’s at home, he’s done with school and you can’t let him have a friend over or go outside and play with a friend because ??? social distancing right now. Think about that.
I’d love to know how you are handling this. If you are a teacher, I’d love for you to send me an e-mail and give me your perspective. I think this is equally as difficult on the teachers, because we are seeing the “worth” of a teacher right now. Teachers definitely do not teach for the “pay.” They teach because they genuinely love to teach and it’s tough for them not to be with the kids.
Just documenting COVID-19 for my future grandchildren.