Wednesday, April 15th 2020
It is 7:45am on the third school day morning of our fifth week in quarantine. All is quiet and I’m in the kitchen making tea. Our Alexa speaker goes off: “THIS IS A REMINDER: TIME FOR CLARAJANE’S TEACHER MEETING AT 8AM.”
I contemplate whether to wake her up for this. But having heard the announcement, she appears in the kitchen for hugs, gets herself dressed and asks for help logging in to the meeting. The teacher left the URL in “Google Classroom.” I help her copy and paste it into a new tab. She logs in and her two teachers are there, so delighted to see her.
They proceed to tell her that now the district is requiring them to TRACK students’ work. So in addition to all the tools we are already use, ClaraJane must also type into her “Work Plan” what work she has done.
I listen as the teacher reviews the Work Menu.
“So there’s Reflex Math. You should practice that 3X/week for about 20 minutes. Then there’s Symphony, also 3X/week for 20 minutes. There’s also Bedtime Math, and Khan Academy which I know you know because you started it yesterday. Then there’s Literacy. For language skills you should use Lexia…”
“I’m sorry,” I say, scooching into the online meeting. Time out folks, I say in essence. I tell them, “I cannot promise that I’m committed to this Mission.” I let them know that This. Is. A bridge too far.
I share my thoughts and tears.
The teachers are sobered and compassionate. We all agree we are all going through this unprecedented time and experience together.
Among other things they tell me it is the STATE that is mandating that the DISTRICT have the TEACHERS TRACK the students’ WORK AT HOME by having them fill out new online work plans.
This strikes me as crazy not only because all of this is untenable, but because this is Cambridge Massachusetts -a premier hub of resources and technology- and there is no way all other districts are even attempting near as much as we are.
Moreover we know it is politicians and their corporate overlords who are making these decisions; not anyone who has stepped in a classroom or who deals in the best interest of the whole child.
Other parents online –and even our own school’s Family Liaison– tell me again and again, essentially; “Do what you think is best for the health of your kids and don’t worry they’ll be fine!”
Truth is I know this AND I’m not “worried” about them. It’s ME (and my OTHER responsibilities) I’m worried about.
Before we go rogue and opt OUT of this over-arching “academic” madness –or just even pick and choose what parts to continue– I personally need to know exactly WHAT is being asked of us, in its entirety. That is why I’ve now tabulated everything I can in my “Pandora’s Box” compendium on this blog.
NOW BACK TO MY DAUGHTER, diligently working on her work.
“UGH!!! THAT KEEPS HAPPENING!!!” she yells, shaking her fists and stomping her feet at her desk (does this count as indoor exercise?) “I click ONE THING WRONG and then it deletes ALL my tabs!!!”
Here she is going back to her class website to click through all the links to get back to the work she was just working on. I am so proud of her.
It’s true my child is capable of so much more than I ever knew. I am still unconvinced of our OBLIGATION to take on all that is being firehosed upon us.