I just received an announcement last night that my daughter’s school district is returning to virtual learning following the holiday aftermath and winter surge of Covid. Our closure has been driven by waves of teachers calling in sick, but the short notice certainly provides families, especially single parent homes virtually no time to prepare.
It has been draining to watch the news and see the everchanging rules about when and where masks are required, numbers improving and then back to setting infectious records, social distancing and quarantining. I worry most that my child is getting the education she needs to succeed in life as this pandemic has now affected three school years.
I have some friends whose kids were virtually learning well before the pandemic began and have felt virtually no impact, but I think most would agree that most kids need interaction and lose out on critical socialization skills when distance learning.
· Teachers are important mentors
· School sports develop leadership, community and teamwork
· Conflict resolution skills are formed with adolescent interactions
My student is not a solitary learner and struggles with the practice of depending on videos and self-study to educate her on most subjects. As if we weren’t already tasked enough with the technology boom, remote learning only encourages students to rely on Siri and Google to answer their academic questions. It is the quick easy alternative to reading or searching through educator provided content. I’ve further noticed that due to computer programs being able to assist with the grading process, my child does more True/False and Matching than essay and comprehension testing for the purpose of evaluating aptitude. It worries me for the quality of education she is receiving.
Testing clearly reflects that our kids academic progress has suffered. The question is, how and what we will need to do to get these kids back on track and properly prepared for college and beyond? I have spent hours, like many other parents, relearning in an effort to assist my child and have even enlisted help from tutors but still feel my child’s education and school experience has suffered. Sadly, I am well aware that there are many families that aren’t able to provide extra assistance to their children.
The education system needs to start considering what needs to address once this is all over. We’ll need to evaluate and offer extra support to these kids whose development has fallen behind socially, mentally and emotionally. I may be a perpetual optimist and believe there is a very bright future ahead for my daughter, but I think we should be planning now how we are going to get there so we can set them up for success.