Welcome to a new school year! One that is unprecedented as we have never begun in a virtual setting. Prior to learning from home in the spring, we had three quarters under our belts. Teachers, students, and parents knew one another and were embedded in the daily routines. Our community gathered each morning to begin the day. More than ever we miss what we had.
Thank you for trusting us to educate your children. School is the environment set up by society where we find our own identity. It is through separating from home in this way that we become self reliant and figure out how to fit into the community and become good citizens.
The first weeks of school are for establishing routines, getting to know one another, and the start of relationship-building. With virtual school, some children that might normally be anxious over separating from home don’t have to. On the other hand, they may not be making steps toward independence.
As parents, we must balance their need for support during asynchronous times (off line) with their need to develop independence from us. How do we not insert ourselves into the relationship between our child, his/her teacher and their peers during synchronous learning (Zoom or Meet) to allow for connection and trust building, while remaining close enough to support any technology issues? How do we let them struggle (an important component of growth and learning) while still monitoring so the struggle does not overwhelm their abilities? How do we support them without micromanaging?
The answer may be to trust the professionals, let them do their job and manage our own frustrations. We understand your challenge and that many of you are juggling this without any training. Teachers are making a herculean effort to recreate what students would experience in their classrooms in a digital format. They are, like you, doing their best. They are human and also grappling with the desire to provide the excellence they are used to while dealing with this all-consuming work. Technology can be glitchy and sabotages the flow and pace of teaching and learning. It also provides the opportunity for continuous learning and connection while not physically present.
We can get through this one day at a time. How we get through it depends on finding the balance among control, gratitude, and taking time for self care when we are already fatigued.
We are asking you to grant yourselves and us patience, grace, and kindness. We all look forward to the time when we can once again safely join together as a school community.