• Cara Parker

Please Show the Teachers Some Patience and Grace

I can guarantee you right now that the teachers are not woo-hooing like they do on a snow day. This isn't a snow day. This isn't fun. This is scary. For the last two weeks, we have been fielding questions from children, trying to help them understand why hygiene is so important at a level that they can understand. We have been watching and worrying.

I can also guarantee you that most teachers do not have training in how to do their job in an online format and still do it to the level of excellence that is expected from the community.

Right now, we are looking over all the state standards. We are trying to list out what still needs to be taught. We are not sure how to teach things like

(a/b) × (c/d) = (ac)/(bd)

without having the children in the room, without using math manipulatives, and without being able to reteach this topic in a flexible small group setting to help struggling learners master this concept. We are struggling with translating the masterful art of creating aha moments and class camaraderie and teamwork and apply it to an impersonal, independent software platform that we don't necessarily know how to use.

We are also trying to figure out how to provide instruction that can be done independently, while parents are working from home and trying to keep their own jobs. We are brainstorming how to provide for multi levels of instruction and make accommodations for children who need to step up to provide child care for younger siblings and for those who don't have their own computer at home or might not even have internet connection while all the libraries all around us are shutting down. We are discussing how to meet the needs of children who struggle to do grade level work.

And we worry about the children who might not eat.

180 credits of undergraduate, graduate, and post-masters degree education did not prepare us for "How to Suddenly Change What You Do So Well in an Emergency Situation and Put It Online With No Training".

What I can tell you is that I have seen hundreds of teachers I know engaging in conversations, sharing resources, asking questions, giving tutorials to each other, and preparing for whatever comes next.

And many districts don't have a directive yet about what will come next.

But we are already working on it.

Because that's what we do. Because we care about the kids. We care about your kids. And we want to do what will be right for your child's education, while also respecting that this is going to be a crisis for your family.

Teachers always figure it out.

So, what I would ask is that you give the teachers some grace and patience. If you don't understand an assignment, don't blast it all over facebook. If you think that the work is too much, too little, too hard, too easy, contact the teacher directly.

Please don't plaster your gripes about your child's assignments all over your town's facebook moms page. Please. If we make a mistake, show us some grace. If you are struggling to get your child to do the work, contact us directly. Please don't take it to social media. Work WITH us, not against us.

And know that we are just as unsure and scared as you are.

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