Dear School Administration, Board Members and Decision Makers,
It has been a few weeks of this virtual learning and I am here to tell you: It is not working, and we are not okay.
I know, I know, I know…. “You’re doing the best you can” right?
Wrong. Most of us, do not feel we are even being heard, let alone doing the best you can.
Have you experienced virtual learning? Like, really sat in a home with families struggling to make this work. Have you witnessed the meltdowns of both students and parents? The fights and frustrations of not understanding the days’ agenda, or math lessons or technology failures? The onset depression kids are experiencing due to sitting all day, alone.
Have you sat in the home of families of multiple kids, only to see every child eat lunch ALONE?
Have recess ALONE.
Have snack ALONE.
It is absolutely heartbreaking, and I feel held hostage in my own home. I cannot take my kids on a bike ride, or to the park for recess or on a picnic for lunch because every child has a unique schedule. Help me understand why all families are expected to be flexible with virtual learning, yet we could not have a 1-hour lunch break school wide.
If you have not witnessed this, then, I beg you to STOP telling us that you understand and start listening. Parents know what is best for their children, and we are going to fight to make things right.
Children belong in school. Together. Everyday.
Virtual learning was supposed to be an OPTION to families that felt unsafe reentering schools and as this can remain an option, live, in-person education is the only option for many of us.
Parents are not meant to be teachers, social workers, and principals in our own homes. Teachers are not supposed to work twice as hard, to make half the difference, with the same pay. Let me say that again:
Teachers are working TWICE as hard, to make HALF the difference, for the SAME pay.
Let that sink in, because if you truly feel that children are getting the same education virtually as they would in-person, you do not deserve a seat on the board and should immediately be banned from working in the education system.
Stores are open. Daycares are open. Restaurants are open. The fact that schools remain closed is baffling.
I mean, are you aware that preschools are open? These little boys and girls all look absolutely adorable with their Paw Patrol and Dinosaur masks, but I must ask, have you been around many 3 or 4-year olds lately? Because they are the most disgusting little humans out there. 3 and 4 year olds will literally put their hand down their pants to scratch themselves right before giving high fives. Their sleeves, and now masks, double as Kleenex. They’ll pick the gum off the bottom of a picnic table and chew it, and then share it with a friend to try as well. They’re gross. Adorable, and hilarious, but gross…. And yet they are in school, and to all your surprise; they’re doing just fine. Great actually, preschoolers and daycare children are doing just great!
If preschoolers can manage, I think you need to have a bit more confidence in our older children as well.
Because regardless of your intentions with virtual learning, it is not working, and again, we are not okay. Families are not okay.
We are not okay with watching our children’s education progress regress rather than improve.
We are not okay listening to our middle school students spend their 60 minute lessons listening to a teacher tell other students to put a shirt on, or to stop with the profanity, or to simply watch the entire Zoom lesson freeze and lose the entire days’ worth of instruction.
We are not okay hearing our kids calling themselves stupid when they do not understand something.
We are not okay trying to tell our young children they must be quiet because their siblings are in “class”.
We are not okay with asynchronous learning days. Kids don’t learn this way.
We are not okay seeing children on the class list that don’t show up for a single zoom, scared for that child. We are not okay knowing that school is, for many children, the only place they are given love, or food, or friendship, and yet we have taken that safe place away.
We are not okay watching our Kindergarten students cry at a computer for hours at a time, because struggling to type something as simple as their names, makes them feel like they’re failing, when typing shouldn’t even be part of their daily routine.
We are not okay watching our Juniors miss their ACT/SAT test preps.
We are not okay watching our children with IEP’s and 504 plans not receive their accommodations.
We are not okay watching our Seniors start their years at home, when this should be their time to be the Kings and Queens of the hallways they’ve walked for the past 3 years, or the fact that their 2020/2021 yearbooks will be empty of fall memories.
We are not okay with our children losing their social and emotional health over fear of a virus.
And, I am 100% not okay with anyone that has not been in a classroom in the past 10 years telling my family what is best for their education OR telling my district teachers what is best. Teachers know what is best. Mothers know what is best. Any person that is not a teacher should never have the authority to tell teachers what they should be doing, when they have never even walked a day in their shoes. You have no idea what teachers are actually trying to accomplish every single day, and the struggles virtual learning brings on.
Have you ever tried to teach a child how to hold a pencil properly via Zoom? No? How about correcting letter formation on worksheets you cannot even collect? Did you expect children to enjoy watching their teachers perform experiments in science rather than getting to participate or did you not understand that would bring on full frustrations and resentment of their classwork.
Did you realize that students that once loved school, cry each morning absolutely hating their new normal?
Was this part of the plan? Did you think of the consequences virtual learning would bring?
I am begging you to listen. Put kids back in school. End 2020 as normal as it possibly can be.
Listen to your teachers. Listen to your families.
Put your political agendas aside. Let our personal physicians decide what is best for our health while you do your job and do what is best for your district and education. And, in those final decision moments if you are on the fence, just remember:
We are not okay.
Teachers are not okay.
District 300 Families are not okay.
Kids belong in school.