As the school year is fully underway, with a majority of students learning virtually, we have heard a lot about what is not working, or what is difficult about going to school virtually.
What we have not heard much about is how parents and school staff can work together to make the best of a situation that nobody wanted in the first place.
Today we check in with parents and educators to ask them what they need from each other to make virtual learning work. Our parents and school staff come from all over the city, teaching or raising children from grades K4 to high school seniors.
The biggest theme that emerged is the need for consistent communication. As both our parents and educators mention, now more than ever is the time for parents and teachers to be on the same page about shared needs, struggles and obligations outside of school.
Parents: What do you wish teachers knew about your situation right now? If you are struggling, is there a reason why?
Dorothy Cottrell, grandparent and godparent: “It would be very nice if each teacher knew more about each of their students’ families.”
Brianna Nguyen, parent of a K5 student: “I appreciate when teachers reach out to check in and see how things are going. When the teacher has outlined a clear schedule and provides meaningful activities during those sessions, it is incredibly helpful.”
Educators: What do you wish parents knew about your situation right now? If you are struggling, is there a reason why?
Orlando Verdecia, school social worker: “This is everyone’s first year on the job again whether we’ve worked our role for five-plus or 10+ years. Social workers, teachers, and everyone in between, it’s our first year. We’re learning how to provide the best service and making it as equitable as possible.”
Megan Fischer, third grade teacher: “I appreciate when parents tell me if something is taking a third grader a long time to figure out at home. In the classroom I easily change plans or add a scaffold . . . it is much harder to know if those changes or supports are needed in the virtual realm.”
Haley Dutton, seventh and eighth grade English and Language Arts teacher: “Parent involvement has never been more important. Parent support and trust are also equally as important as we are navigating uncharted waters.”
What do your children or students need most right now?
Yesenia Saavedra, parent of K4 daughter and middle school assistant principal: “Kids need parents and teachers to be in constant communication, sharing needs and struggles. Parents and teachers see different things about the students. Parents can see how they’re doing at home and that information can help teachers. Teachers can share with parents struggles they’re having with technology just so we’re aware of it as well.”
Nguyen: “Patience, empathy, encouragement and rigor.”
Shalamar Fernandez, parent of a third and an eighth grader: “I don’t get a break. I am a 24 hours / 7 days a week mom. There is no clock-in, clock-out. It’d be nice to interact with other adults.”
Tameika Lawrence, ninth grade special education teacher: “Patience and understanding that this isn’t the situation educators wanted either! We prefer to be in buildings with kids as opposed to being online . . . I am double-checking work, reaching out to kids more, talking to my advisees to make sure I’m not missing anything and making sure I make connections with students.”
What solutions would you like to see in the future? Why do you want it to happen this way?
Danell Cross, parent of a seventh grader: “I would like the state to pay, through a child care subsidy, for a family member to be able to stay home and supervise their children along with other children in the families learning.”
Cottrell: “A way for each child to go to school at home or at a babysitter’s home with a small enough class to watch each student to assure safety. No large numbers of kids in a classroom at this time.”
In case you missed it: We asked students how they feel about schools reopening in the fall. Here’s what they said.