With Labor Day here, the dawn of a new school year is upon the horizon. Unlike many years, a lot of kids are not being forced to head to Target or Walmart with their parents to pick up their years supply of pencils, folders, and notebooks. Instead, they are preparing for a virtual take on education from the comforts of their homes. Those pencils and erasers are now being swapped for Mac Books and Surface Pro’s. Kitchen tables being turned into desktops where the less tech-friendly parents are sweating over setting up Zoom and Canvas accounts. I, for one, know that as much as I dreaded summer coming to an end the only thing I had to worry about that first day of school was what new outfit I was going to be wearing. Not if the WiFi is down or if I have the correct meeting i.d. / password. A new kind of stress added to the day-to-day of education.
Not only a new stress for the students, but a brand new kind of stress getting added to the docket of the teachers. Many of whom have been able to start a new year with ambitions of making a difference in the daily lives of their students with a well thought out lesson plan and great experience of executing said plan. They are now getting a crash course on which tab to click to enter some sort of abbreviated lesson for the students to complete. Nothing about what these teachers are having to go through in this short of a time period is good for the mental state of these professionals.
To stay on that topic, GOING to school is an outlet for many students to have a sense of belonging. Wanting a better future and being challenged by teachers and fellow students. Without that interaction in person you can never truly know what a student is feeling. The hands on approach allows for walls to be let down and vulnerability. We now face the challenge of being stuck behind yet another computer screen looking from afar at others with the mute button selected. Let alone a video tab being selected and the student being more focused on any sort of social media platform.
I know their is not any great solution and that education must go on, but I personally know from living with two teachers that this year is going to be a challenge like none other. My only take away from this all is that both sides need to realized that this is the hand that was dealt. There’s no audible to be called at this time. You have to make the most of it and be open to a new form of learning and teaching. It will be no walk in the park, but if it can be tackled head on then we stand a chance. Stay committed and take your education seriously. In the Google world we live in and many answers just a click away it is vital to be okay to fail from your own effort.
For those going attending class in person, stay safe and have fun! Those that are about to see what a Zoom meeting is for the first time, stay patient and be ready to adjust to anything.
Back to school, back to school to prove to dad that I’m not a fool!