After most of our children and teenagers logged on this morning only to be knocked off of Zoom or whatever platform your child’s district is using, you must’ve realized having a plan means having a problem as well.
When I saw the schedule that Khan Academy provided over the weekend, I got so excited and hopeful then within seconds my mind shot full-speed ahead to today and imploded into a mess of a thousand different problems that might occur.
Why the Implosion?
I’m an educator and a mom. If there’s one thing I know about education, public education nonetheless, it’s that things will go wrong. On top of that, everyone is on the Internet and in our neck of the woods, it’s week three of a school shutdown. Add to it that, our kids think it’s a Zombie Apocalypse, even if they’re too old (teenagers) to admit it.
The bottom line is that we’ve been bombarded with fear for the last two weeks and no amount of preparation can alleviate the tension our kids feel about everything, let alone school. Take into consideration that they’re teenagers and you’ve got an even messier situation.
Here’s what I’ve done and am doing to attempt to ease the situation:
Communicate with Kids in Advance
I started on Saturday afternoon. With young children, it’s easier to sneak in little conversations while playing, drawing, eating, or taking a walk. Say something such as, “You know that we’re going to try and talk to your teacher(s) this week.” Or, “I’m tired of sleeping so late. Let’s try getting up earlier and take a look at the school website.”
The idea is to ease them into a new way of seeing the days ahead. Now, with teenagers or even those lovely tweens of ours, you might need to be more forceful or just downright honest. I mean, think about it, they’re pretty damn honest with us. But, you also need to be prepared for a meltdown.
On Saturday, I had knocked on my teenagers doors every half hour since 11 a.m. and by 12:30 p.m., I gave them an ultimatum: Open your doors and come out here or I’m taking all of your devices.
Needless to say, the doors opened. Some harsh words flew from all of our mouths. But, by this morning, they were out of their rooms by 9 a.m. complaining that the Internet was crashing or they couldn’t connect. More on that problem later.
Plans are Only the Starting Point
You can plan to be tough, but you might need to come to a screeching stop right in the middle of a reprimand. Don’t think that you’re going to be tough on your kids then see their eyes tearing up or even rolling for that matter, and not change tactics. You will have to change tactics or you’re going to have a lot of unnecessary fights and maybe even worse given the situation.
Plans give us purpose, but they’re like rules and need to be broken more often than not. So, if you think you may have pushed your kids to the edge, you probably have. Just back off and tell them, “Look, I don’t want to upset you. I just want to help. I’m trying to find a balance.” They might respond with a hug or they might return to their rooms. Either way, you stopped before the situation turned into an out of control conflict.
Email Your Children’s Teachers Today
Our district, here in Miami-Dade County, sent general information to us about attendance and schedules. Mostly, it was all good. I could read between the lines because I’ve been working as a teacher for quite awhile.
I know our Superintendent Alberto M. Carvahlo‘s reputation and that he will go out of his way to make sure students get what they need. He’s a hands-on politician and he wants children educated. So, if worse comes to worse, he’ll fight for the student.
I also know that I can email the teachers about my children in order to document problems such as the one we experienced this morning. As parents, we need to be vigilant and help our children maintain a sense of stability right now. That means even with teenagers and in my opinion especially with teenagers, we need to act as if they aren’t as independent as they’d like for us to believe.
Emailing teachers will also ease your worries. Teachers know that communication with parents is even more important now, so they will respond even if it doesn’t happen overnight. If they don’t respond within a day, contact their superior or an assistant principal and so on. Right now, you shouldn’t feel like you’re bothering the teachers or administration. Communication via email or phone should be a priority.
As an educator, I believe school districts will do their best to offer us a smooth avenue to ensure our children will be able to continue their education and move on to their next grade level or graduate. Right now, just remember that a district is made up of one human being linked to another human being and none of us have ever been more human than we are now.