Like so many other districts around the country, our district has started the year with classes on zoom. I have 4 kids doing this! FOUR! We are toughing it out at home because I am ‘blessed’ to not have a full or even a part-time job right now. My youngest is in 2nd grade. I know this isn’t the youngest kiddo navigating zoom, nor am I in a unique situation. But I am starting to dread school each day because my son NEEDS someone by his side the entire school day. He’s fidgety, he doesn’t always listen or pay attention, he has ‘pullout’ classes that are different from his main classroom, in short – he needs constant guidance!
So, in four+ weeks of school on Zoom, sitting next to my squirrely little boy, I have learned a few more things than just relearning 2nd-grade material…
7&8 year old’s are loud
OK, I admit I have done a little listening in on my other three kid’s classes, they are loud too (mostly 5th grade), so it’s not just the second-grade kids. But, oh my ears… God bless my boy’s teacher because half of the day all I hear is his name. “Mr. ___!,” “Mr. ___!,” “Mr. ___!” all day. Remember how we moms feel when all we hear for hours on end is “mom,” it’s very similar! The ‘mute’ button (and “all mute” by the host) was a genius invention by the people at zoom. After the first day of school, I said that 5th graders are loud, but these sweet little 2nd graders are not very different. The worst times for noise are right at the beginning of the day or when they are just coming back from breaks or doing independent work, and the end of the day. Some days we cannot ‘leave’ the class soon enough! To be fair, there is a lot going on and these kids have things they need or want to say.
Kids are resilient
I see many, if not most, of my son’s classmates, doing the work that has been asked. These kids are not only navigating Zoom but a plethora of other online learning apps and websites. They are listening (shocking after what I just said, but…) to books read by the teacher or by recording. These kids are reading books online, much like a kindle or other e-reader, AND these websites are keeping track of how much they have read and what levels they are reading at.
When the internet goes out for either themselves or the teacher (and it WILL), I have seen these kids take it in stride. Though I have to admit when the teacher disappeared one day, it was a bit chaotic for a few minutes, but he had just explained to the students exactly how to find what to do… approximately 5 times… The teacher reappeared and all was better (and quieter) in the 2nd-grade world again.
Teachers are amazing
All through school I wanted to be a teacher, life’s circumstances changed that just a bit. But I really don’t know if I could do what these unsung heroes are doing right now! We’ve all heard the analogies of “building the plane while it’s in the air” or that it’s like “all the teachers have been thrust into a first-year again” – meaning that it’s going to take a while to get the hang of this online/ Zoom teaching thing. Yes, yes, and yes! I do know quite a few teachers, many in this district, their number one wish is to be in those classrooms with your kiddos. I don’t want to start a debate here, so I’ll just say since that in-person school not possible at this juncture, teachers are learning to make lemonade from some very sour lemons.
Grace is required
Need I say more…
Well fine then…
Everyone involved in a schooling situation: any teacher, any student, any parent, or other big people in a kid’s life, needs you to bestow kindness and grace to them, likewise they to you. Let’s not belittle anyone for their personal choices. We are all “so over it” all, and if you need to talk to someone, reach out. Another analogy I’ve heard along the way: we are all going through the same storm, just in different boats, be respectful of that.
There is a light at the end of this tunnel!