Thanks to Teachers

My kids have hated online school. For my two oldest school is over. Half of their teachers worked hard and engaged, the other half checked out. Who can blame them?

My youngest is still in elementary school and has one more week. My youngest will sit in our kitchen and dutifully work through all of her assignments each morning and I listen to the online class that they have with their teacher. My daughter is frequently frustrated when the tech doesn’t work, or she doesn’t understand, but she presses on.

Sometimes it hilarious to listen in on these class discussions. Frequently it is sad to overhear kids in tears of frustration. Life like this is difficult and I get 100% why the kids are frustrated.

My wife and I have a favorite line that came from one of these early sessions. As the teacher was wrapping up one of the kids tearfully said, “Hey I have a question? So are weekends, like, still a thing?” That has kind of become our motto that we say to each other as our days run together and when we are frustrated ourselves.

My youngest’s teacher has been a champion. My two oldest also had him and we loved him already, but his effort to keep the kids engaged and learning has been off the charts.

If you can imagine a Zoom meeting of 9yos and the patience that requires… there are no words. Not only that, but he has made massive effort so those kids don’t get robbed of the fun stuff that they had been working for.

Each year he has the kids compose an ‘opera’ that they perform. He spent HOURS with my child and her classmate alone helping her compose and do her part and make it into music.

It is Pioneer Week and he has figured out all kinds of activities they can do. He’s pushed them to do creative book reports - one wrote a musical book report, others made videos. Last week he went to every one of his student’s home and dropped off something for them to prepare for Pioneer Week.

I can only imagine how many hours he has put in. I know what school teachers get paid. He proved this is a labor of love for him and I am so grateful that my daughter has lost as little as possible with things being shut down. It is all because of him.

I’ve expressed this to him directly, but Mr Lingen, our family will be forever grateful to you and your dedication, endless patience and professionalism.

I know Peter though not well and he is indeed rock solid. I would also say that even those teachers who may have appeared to have “checked out” to you are probably still doing a ton of work behind the scenes doing the mountain of prep work required for online learning. I have watched Mrs. Guba do a ton of work on weekends to get video lessons created and working late in the night getting emails sent out or doing video chat tutoring for kids well into the evening. And her school is just trying to keep kids in maintenance mode since it is a low income/Title I school. Being thrust into online school has been a huge challenge for everyone I think. Thankfully my kids have been able to adapt and do well. I feel bad for those kids who have poor or no internet and who have to share computers/tablets/phones with other siblings or go to a relatives house or borrow a chromebook from the school.

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I should clarify that the ones who have checked out, literally checked out. Both of my older kids had teachers who basically said a month ago, “No assignments, no lectures, you’ll all get a Pass grade.” And really I don’t blame them. 300 13 and 14yo students, half of which you don’t know if they are around or not… It was a herculean effort of any teacher to stay anxiously engaged in an impossible situation.

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