Today is day eight of virtual school for my kiddos. This will go down as the weirdest year ever for my two daughters, and for me as their mom. When I look back to March when this all began, I remember thinking, “Okay, this will be fun! Schools are off for two weeks so I’ll come up with some fun activities while they do remote learning!” Never. NEVER in a million years would I have thought we’d still be dealing with it six months later!
Over the summer, my husband and I went back and forth so many time about what we should do this school year and what would be best for our girls. I didn’t know what my county here in Maryland had planned, so I researched home school options. As I planned, I felt so bad for my kids, especially my middle child who was going into kindergarten. Almost daily she asked me about riding a bus to school and eating lunch in a cafeteria like her big sister. My heart seriously broke for her that she wasn’t going to have a typical start to her first year in school. I knew whatever we decided, it would never be a perfect choice because nothing was.
Being home while they’re in school has given me the opportunity to see first hand what these elementary school teachers are dealing with; Teachers in general, but especially elementary school teachers, in my opinion. With older students who are in middle or high school, you’re able to give them a lot more independence with online school. Not so with these little kiddos. As an outsider looking in, this is what I hear on the regular:
“(insert name), please mute your mic. Yes, your mic. Mute it. *Holds up a picture of a microphone with a line through it.*”
“Okay, (insert name), are you ready to share? Unmute your mic. *Holds up a picture of a mic without the line through it*. Yep, that microphone like this. Unmute it, sweetie.”
“(Insert name), I’d really love to see your smiling face and not your foot.”
“That was a great story, (insert name), and I’m sorry to have to interrupt you, however we have to move on. Okay, I’m going to go ahead and mute you now.”
“(Insert name), honey, the whole class hears you singing that song. Please mute your mic.”
“Okay, no, it’s not show and tell day, please put your cat down.”
“Please sit back in your seat. We don’t all want to see your nostrils.”
It’s been both hilarious at times and cringe-worthy. These teachers deal with all of that and more with the patience of a saint and a smile on their face. I’m sure when the day is done they have their moments of swearing, drinking, etc, but during class, they are amazing.
I was once a teacher before my first daughter was born, and I’m here to tell you, teachers are not paid nearly enough of what they deserve. The job doesn’t stop for them when they are done at 4:00. They continue planning. They continue assessing. They continue worrying about which students might need more help with something and if they’re able to reach them. They continue doing all of these things after they “clock out”, and on the weekends.
I was so frustrated when I heard some opinions of those who live in my county, and nationwide, when they decided to start the year off virtually. The comments being made toward teachers, such as, ‘they shouldn’t get paid as much if they’re not really teaching’, angered me immensely.
When we went up go get supplies at the school a few days before the year began, we were able to meet the teachers, as well. I knew they didn’t think this type of learning was going to be ideal, but the amount of positivity they exuded and excitement with meeting their students actually made me get tears in my eyes. These teachers had to basically start over and learn how to teach again. They sat in endless meetings about how to teach this way, and stayed up late at night planning online activities and lessons. They worried about everything. When they finally started teaching that first day, and now days later, they handle every issue with technology and student behavior insanely well. I know they want to be in the classroom with their students where they can see their faces and give them actual high fives and hugs, but they don’t let their disappointment show. They remain a steady, confident rock for these kids who really need that positive attitude from the adults around them.
So, thank you teachers for always being there for our kids and doing the best you can during these challenging times. You truly are underpaid heroes, and anyone who doesn’t think so should step into your shoes and try teaching. I can guarantee they wouldn’t last a day, or a period.