Today was my (Barb’s) last unofficial day of work. I had my last virtual class meeting with my science students, my AVID students, and our last staff meeting. I also “attended” our last virtual staff happy hours in the early evening.
Tomorrow is my day to get grades turned in (done!) and close out our virtual/digital classrooms (done!) John’s grades were due today but has a staff meeting tomorrow morning. He is almost done!
We have had 11 weeks of virtual/distance/remote learning. My students missed more than a quarter of the year. Everything assigned to my students was optional “enrichment” activities for both our districts. We were also directed not to teach any new concepts and to limit their academic activity to no more than 2 hours per week per subject with a maximum of 12 hours expected per week for middle and high school students. Elementary students were limited to 2 hours per day with a 10 hour maximum per week. (This might have been a state directive.) While I understand this, it sure did make it difficult for educators.
Parents had to learn how to manage working at home or working outside the home with limited childcare as well as “homeschooling” their students with the uncertainty of the pandemic on the livelihood on their family.
Many teachers went overboard on assignments at the beginning and turned off the overstressed parents. Some parents just gave up and let their child do what ever they wanted to do academically, others “enforced” 2 hours per day of “academic activity”, and then some expected their child to do everything listed for the week from every teacher.
I worry about August when we will be requiring a minimum of 5 hours of work a week from students, either in class, at home, or a mix of both.
I will miss the virtual meetings with my students. They have shared so many small personal details of their lives, more so at the beginning of all this. Some have shared insightful realizations about how they learn and what they enjoy doing now that they have time to pursue these other interests. Surprisingly, they are wanting to limit screen time (phone and computer) and prefer playing video games on the television screen. Maybe it has something to do with the closeness of the screen to their face.
Goodbye 2019-2020 school year. May we NEVER have to have a school year like you again!