Clothing Required - And Other Remote Learning Tips For Parents
Ok, I admit my experience with remote learning is limited to three days with my 9-year-old grandson. So I don't claim to be an expert.
I do claim to have been highly frustrated with the process.
It is my humble opinion that remote learning does a great disservice for younger (elementary age) children. They are not mature enough to understand or deal with this situation and so many are falling through the cracks.
Many school systems were ill-prepared, if at all, and there is way too much responsibility put on the parent and the child to perform the duties of the education system.
Now that I have said my peace, let me step down from my soapbox and offer some practical advice for those parents (and grandparents) who still wade in these waters every day to help their children learn.
1. Wear Clothes
Now I did not personally have this problem, but I have heard the stories. Zoom classrooms use cameras. Cameras see things. And in the case of parents who forget this tiny detail, Johnny, all these classmates, and the teacher are seeing quite a bit more than they expected.
This holds true for those who have been driven to day-drinking. I strongly recommend refraining from that activity. The teacher does not need your visual aid assistance with upending a bottle of Chardonnay during science class.
Yes, you may be in your home. And yes, you technically have the right to walk around how you please and do what you please. However, the world is watching. Literally. Be mindful of where you are in regards to the Chromebook camera and dress and behave accordingly.
TIP: Have a designated area for 'school'. Ideally, it should not be a bedroom if at all possible. The kitchen or dining room table is a good option. If you have a home office or study, that is also great. And if you have more than one child, try to give each one their own area so they can concentrate.
I saw kids on their beds or on the living couch. This is not conducive of paying attention or learning. They were moving around, laying down, playing with pillows. Yes, you want your child comfortable, but they should have some semblance of a desk and be able to sit upright in a chair. If kids could learn on couches their school rooms would look like a Hilton Inn lounge.
2. Stay Off Your Phone
In addition to cameras, those Chromebooks have microphones. So the argument with your spouse is now being broadcast to the entire 6th grade. Or that budgetary meeting with your boss is being heard. And don't think the juicy piece of gossip about Amanda's mom and the Fed Ex driver will stay a secret very long.
You would not go into your child's classroom and start talking on the phone. So don't do it when they are doing remote learning. Even if no one else can hear you, your child probably can. And it is distracting. It is difficult enough to learn common core math on a good day. Having to filter out your latest personal tragedy does not help. And trust me, you don't want the teacher to tell you to SHHH!
TIP: Teach your kids to mute. Unless they have a specific question to ask and the opportunity to ask it, the Chromebook should be on mute.
Part of the chaos with my grandson's remote zoom class was that almost all the kids had their microphones on. That meant everyone else, including the teacher, could hear whatever was going on. From some kids playing with their dogs to grandma's singing, to someone watching The Today Show.
You know the commercials that show too many conversations going on in someone's head and that person going insane. Yes, it's just like that.
This also made it very hard for the teacher to do her job. She was unable to hear a specific question or concern that a particular child was having. They had to repeat the issue. She had to repeat the solution. Not only was it irritating to listen to, but it also wasted ALOT of time.
3. Don't Take Your Frustrations Out On The Teacher
I can pretty much assure you, they don't like this any more than you do. They did not sign up to be a TV moderator, family therapist, or computer technician. Yes, they are prepared to stand before you children and teach, but remote learning puts such an added strain on their full plates.
As parents (and grandparents), we have many concerns. There are technical glitches, missed meetings, lost assignments, unclear directives, and the list goes on. As humans, it is tempting to take those frustrations out on the messenger. That's unfair and unproductive.
Yes, you are entitled to know what is going on with your child's education. And you and your child should have clear instructions on when to attend zoom meetings, where to find assignments, and how and when to turn them in. But you may want to give the teacher's a break from time to time.
TIP: Set up a line of communication with the teacher. The vast majority of teachers got into this profession to actually teach. So their goal is to be as effective as possible. They are frustrated, confused, and trying to learn new tricks as well. They WANT your child to succeed and they understand you need to be involved.