It is 8 am, everyone is just waking up, coffee is perking, kids are eating the entire pantry already and I am nagging them to just brush their teeth. We finally get settled and then I ask them to grab the iPad and Chromebook so we can get school done. Cue the meltdowns. This is only the beginning. Read on to see why I am a teacher and I quit remote schooling my children.
Remote Schooling In Our Home
I love teaching. I love it so much that even though I could easily walk away from the classroom and blog full time, I choose not to. I love watching that spark when a kid just gets something, or the excitement as they see science unfold, or just the everyday banter and silliness from kids. Being in my classroom with my students is one of my happy places. I am a tech focused teacher, I have 1:1 computers in my classroom, and I love learning and trying out new ideas to incorporate into my classes. When we were told we would be remote schooling for a bit, I was all in. I had previously flipped my own classroom for about 4 years and although it was a mess of learning, I still really enjoyed the tech aspect and learning from the kids about what is engaging and how I could improve that aspect in my classes. Remote schooling was going to rock, and I was going to kick all the ass, both as a teacher and as a mother. I got this.
But it is now 10 am, and my kids are upset because mommy has to be in office hours for her students and cannot do a spelling sort or help sound out words. As my office hours end, my son then needs to zoom with his teacher about the work from yesterday and today, and although he is smiling, I can see that he is uncomfortable and sad. When he gets off the zoom call he completely falls apart and misses his friends. I calm him, get the kids lunch going, check my own school emails and respond while they are eating and then try to get back on track with school. At this point we are 3 hours in. We try to get resituated and I spend a solid hour, typing up my kids assignments for him verbatim as he struggles through, just to get this over with. All the while thanking God that I can navigate Google Classroom comfortably and feeling terrible for the parents out there that are just floundering in techland.
One kid down, one to go! First grade, I can do this, but at this point she is so checked out and only wants to play ABCmouse and I am frazzled. We push on, but of course she has a zoom call and I can only expect that she will also meltdown after it is over and then at that point I just have to pull it all together, pick up the house, get dinner going and hug the hell out of them and tell them they did a great job, oh and please go get dressed before your dad gets home. Now before you get all judgy, we tried everything to make this work that I could think of. We tried to schedule things differently, but I have hours I have to be available for my 180 students, and my children’s teachers also have set hours and families that we need to be respectful of. We tried waiting until after the zoom calls, but meltdowns. We tried no zoom calls, but then my kids felt disconnected. We tried doing the work in the evening after dinner but before bed, but then both of them were so anxious they couldn’t sleep. We tried pairing things down and basically, we tried it all and yet, it wasn’t working.
I am a Teacher and I Quit Remote Schooling My Children
I quit and I don’t even care. In the last week my kids are already in a better place. Now I will say that I still have my son login to his Google Classroom and we try to do some work, but only what he feels emotionally able to handle and there is zero pressure. Our daughter will write, watch videos from her teacher, or do ABCmouse while we work on whatever we want to in terms of our own learning for a solid 45 minutes. That is all that we are doing. No longer are we completing every assignment sent by the teacher. We are not doing zoom meetings and both the teachers and the principal are supportive of this.
They get it because they are parents too. Parents of kids that are young and need an adult to guide them through. Parents who are also responsible for making sure that other people’s children are given a fair and equitable education. Parents who are now teaching multiple grades and subjects all at once and are feeling the pressure, sadness and emotional strain from both their kids and their students. Parents who are trying to manage a household and their own emotions and mental health. It is a hefty weight to bear.
I also emailed every parent of my students and told them that I care, I get it, and that if they need to scale things back, I support them 100%. This is traumatic, this is hard and although I want some aspect of normalcy in our schedule, this IS NOT working for OUR family. I refuse to be someone who loves teaching, loves learning, loves school but destroys that love and passion in my own children because I pushed too hard to “keep up, stay busy and have normalcy”.
It is OK for you to Quit Too
I have fielded so many messages and emails from parents of both my students and my kids friends parents, that are echoing the same sentiments. It is too much, it is not the workload, it is the emotional toll and trauma, and these kids are struggling. Most of us have been at this for about 7 weeks now and that is a LONG time to be secluded, to not see your friends, or your teacher. This is hard on them and on you and it is ok to take a step back.
It is ok for you to say, enough, this is not working and to give yourself some grace through this tough period. No one is going to judge you and you honestly do not need to tell anyone if you are concerned they will. Very VERY few school districts are holding kids and parents fully accountable for remote learning, as we know that this is not truly fair and equitable. Shoot, I even wrote down my students grades before remote learning and told myself they can only go up from here…if they go down, the get the grade that they had before we were remote schooling.
So if you feel like you are just at your breaking point. If something has to give, try letting go of the Google Classroom and see if it helps. It is ok for you to quit.
It is OK for you to Keep Going
I’m still teaching. I am still holding zoom meetings with my students, attending virtual meetings, writing lesson plans and doing what I can to make this experience good for those students that are still engaging. I check in with the kids that I have not heard from and exempt assignments when necessary. I get that some families are truly enjoying remote learning and I have several students that are giving me ideas of what is working well and what has totally failed.
If your family needs to continue to do remote schooling for your sanity, if they enjoy it, if they are able to do it self sufficiently, then by all means, keep going. Finish out the year. Utilize this time where they might actually get more one on one instruction from their teachers (no joke, my zoom meetings have like 8 kids…out of 180, these kids are for sure getting more time with me). If it is not broke, don’t fix it. You know what is best for your family.
Just Thank the Teacher
Quitting, continuing, just thank the teacher. It is teacher appreciation week. We is tired and we is working so damn hard making ridiculous videos and come up with lessons that are so out of our norm and likely won’t be used next year. Send a thank you to your kids teachers. A simple email or shoot you can even send them a digital gift card for $5.00. Just let them know that you appreciate them and the work they are doing…even if you are a quitter like me.
Have you quit remote schooling?