I’ve had to walk away from several Facebook groups recently. These groups popped up in late March as a way for teachers to support each other as we moved away from our schools and buildings and began supporting our students virtually. The groups were fabulous. Teachers were sharing and asking questions and pointing each other to resources.
In the past few weeks, as we finished the school year and started looking toward the fall, that has changed. The groups have become, at least to my eyes, more about people complaining about what the fall will hold. No matter what options are being shared by districts, there are many people unhappy.
OF COURSE THERE ARE!
I apologize, my frustration is strong on this one.
There is no good answer. There is no magic solution that is going to solve all our problems. There is no option for schooling that will serve everyone; kids, teachers, families, and our society. (Which isn’t to suggest that what we were doing four months ago was serving everyone either, but that’s a different issue.)
If we have kids in school buildings we put people at risk of COVID-19 and we may traumatize kids due to the precautions we’ll put in place in an attempt to keep people safe.
If we do completely online schooling we continue to keep kids from any social interactions with peers and we may not be able to provide as complete or meaningful an education as we have in the past. In addition, many of these kids will need an adult with them which means someone either has to not work or work from home while caring for kid(s). And we’ve got kids in living situations that are tenuous or downright dangerous and online learning means they stay there 24-7.
If we do a hybrid, which is what my district is planning, we have all of the positives and negatives of both in schools and online.
Some services are exceptionally challenging to provide virtually. Think about occupational and physical therapists or speech pathologists. Not being in person with kids makes their job far more difficult and means that some kids are not going to be able to get the support they need to develop even as their bodies continue developing.
There is no good answer. There is no solution that is truly best. Anything is, at best, better for some and worse for others.
I am waiting before I get angry at the people in charge. I am trusting, as much as possible, that they are doing all they can to serve as many as possible. (I am a white woman which means this trust comes more easily given history. Most of the teachers I see complaining in these FB groups are white women and white men.) I am going to do whatever I can to make sure my kids and I are safe when it comes to school in the fall. I am going to do whatever I can to serve the next bunch of third graders who are entrusted to me.
For the moment, however, I am going to stop reading posts in those FB groups and try some mindfulness activities. I find water and nature soothing. Maybe it’s time to find a place by a lake to sit with a book for a while.