This past school year was definitely unprecedented. It’s quite remarkable what families and teachers alike experienced. There were many highs and many woes. One thing I know for certain is that many of us are more technology savvy than we were prior to the pandemic. From kindergartners to adults, we all had to learn to maneuver new applications, new products and new material in our homes. But we did it! We made it work! I just want to take a moment to highlight some of these huge accomplishments and say that anything can be done with some determination.
As an introvert, I work well independently. But not everyone. This school year, students ability to work synchronously in a group with others and their teachers were limited. Students spent many school hours working on assignments asynchronously. Did you use that term prior to the pandemic in relation to school or life in general? Laughing, but seriously I know I did not. This was one challenge I’m sure parents met. Especially for working parents. Yes, many parents were working from home at that time, but juggling work and being a secondary teacher essentially was challenging. Parents had to keep themselves and their children focused and on a moving schedule. That brings me to time management. I think all of our time management skills were tested and improved due to this experience. That’s definitely a positive take a way!
Another thing I wanted to note, was communication increased between parents and teachers. As I said parents literally became the secondary teacher. Therefore, there had to be direct lines of communication to ensure students remained on task. No longer could parents wait to speak with their children’s teachers at report card time or parent teacher conference to learn about areas where their children were excelling or in contrast needed improvement. Parents experienced first hand what their children were capable of, how they learned best and the resources needed for support.
Unfortunately, some of woes stood out more than others. Like internet challenges. Did your child’s tablet, Chromebook or computer freeze? I heard the term “poor connection” mentioned often. Not just for my household, but the teacher would be frozen. The students learned to adjust to it. I know many parents who upgraded their internet to higher speeds to avoid this. But not everyone had the luxury of upgrading or even internet in itself. Equitable resources were necessary for all our children’s success last school year. Now I know resources were not equitable across the board per say. Of course, it depended on your school district, funding, etc… Things can be different per school, always has been and always will be. However, the schools were amazing with providing students with hotspots and ensuring their ability to participate and not get left behind. We really have to be thankful for small blessings.
The pandemic school year 20/21 taught families and teachers greater patience, adaptability and connections. The time together was priceless and the lessons learned from this experience were invaluable. Hopeful to have our children back in a school setting this coming school year to ensure their academic, social and physical skills are met, but if we have to do this again, we got this!