I have always felt the school system never cared about the whole child and virtual learning has made this more visible. And when I mention the whole child, I’m referring to the mental and emotional well-being of a child. I see so many teachers complaining about parents and virtual learning and I wished these educators understood that most parents are trying their best.
This virtual learning is not easy for parents, teachers or students but we all know why we can’t learn face to face right now. I think we could all be patient with one another and get through this tough time. Although we want the virtual learning experience to mimic the in school environment, it’s just not the same and it’s unrealistic to try to meet these standards.
As a parent, I wished educators, principals and superintendents understood these six things:
1. We are in the middle of a pandemic. Kids have been locked inside for months and it’s impacting their mental health and now they have to be thrown into virtual learning. This pandemic has been hard on a lot of families and the students are dealing with a lot. Some are dealing with the death of loved ones, being separated from loved ones, being isolated from the world, financial losses and more. Although you want kids to focus and be on all the time, it can be hard to do this with so much going on.
2. WE ARE TRYING OUR BEST! For the most part, parents are trying their best. We are setting up learning spaces in our homes, creating material and juggling so much. Parents are juggling households, work and now virtual learning. You never know what a parent is facing so just be patient.
3. Understand that it can’t always be quiet in the background. The amount of times I’ve heard Ray’s teachers say to a student to get somewhere quiet is way too many times to count. Parents are working from home, people don’t live in their own places (hotels or with relatives), there are other kids in the background and etc.. You just have to realize not all students have their own places where they can have a quiet space. Try to teach kids where they are instead of trying to create this perfect school environment.
4. Be mindful that kids are going through a lot. That you don’t know what a child is facing everyday. A child may be sitting in front of their screen appearing unfocused because their anxious about things going on in their personal lives. Virtual learning is not a distraction from their personal lives, it’s only adds on to the many stressors in their lives. Completing so many assignments, having to navigate different programs, learning new material on their own, being away from friends and classmates and then having to deal with things at home too.
5. It’s not okay to shame parents. Yes, I know some parents are doing some things that you don’t like but don’t lump us all together. Understand that not all parents are the same. Some parents are learning new material, new technology, dealing with life and whatever else. This is virtual learning from the home so it’s not going to be perfect all of the time. Sometimes we’re rushing and so much is going on and we are just trying to make sure the kids are present for class. Some parents can do way better and there’s a way to address that without parent shaming.
6. These schedules suck! There was just no other way to phrase this. We have had four different schedule changes and it’s really hard to keep adjusting to these changes. I see teachers saying students are not showing up to the live sessions. Personally, my child has had a hard time adjusting and we have missed a couple of live sessions because of this. He’s either sleeping or not in the mood for the live session. And I’m not a negative Nancy about virtual learning in front of my child but he’s literally battling depression and it’s so hard on him. We have had to reach out to counselors to help us get through this. Teachers, please understand working around these tight schedules can be a challenge but we’re trying.
This ended up being more long winded than I thought it would be. But, these are my personal thoughts about virtual learning. I’ve seen so many complaints from teachers and I just don’t think they know how hard it is on parents and guardians. And I know teachers are also stressed out so we have to work together to get through this.