From the Inside by Dale Ronsenfeldt

When I saw my two oldest granddaughters on Memorial Day, I asked if they were learning now that their schooling is virtual. The 13-year-old said, “Grandma, I’m making straight A’s!” Not wanting to burst her bubble since grades have been all but been abolished in the time of COVID-19, I said, “That wasn’t my question.” She then replied that she really loved learning online, because she could be up all night texting her friends since class doesn’t begin until 10 a.m. She went on to describe getting on Zoom from bed, still in her pajamas for the duration of the call and then finishing her assignments in short order to get back to texting her friends. Seriously?

I’ve written previously about the many casualties of the stay-at-home order, but the fact that parents have become teachers and students can attend class in their PJs concerns me greatly.

Mine is an educated position. I’m a credentialed teacher, and I hold an administrative credential. My parents advised me not to study art—my passion—but instead to become a nurse or teacher. I had a Doc Martin kind of aversion to blood, so the choice was easy. There was no discussion of doctor or lawyer, but I was and am a particularly good teacher and recognized, rewarded and promoted to school administrator.

I have great sympathy for all those, including neighbors, who are working from home, are raising from one to three children, yet now find themselves guiding instruction from home as well, some while paying high tuition to private institutions. Children need professionals to educate them and parents, even if credentialed, are viewed differently. Children need to learn social mores and respect for the process and one another. I don’t think anyone in the system or at home thinks this is working, but what now?

There was a time, not so long ago, when alarms were set so children could rise early, bathe, dress and get to a K-12 institution or beyond. In the time of COVID-19 structure, schedules, discipline, and hard work all seem to have been sacrificed for safety. It’s time to rethink, don’t ya think?

I understand that Tartans returning to St. Margaret’s in August, for example, will wear masks that match their uniforms and that instruction will look different. The website states that “Students and teachers are eager and enthusiastic to be here, to be together, to learn and grow, and that energy is contagious. This is our everyday.”

It’s heartening to know that there are good kinds of contagion, and while the pandemic presents risk, getting students back into classrooms, intelligently, is imperative. At San Juan Hills High School, they ride for the brand, and it’s time to get back in the saddle!

Dale Rosenfeldt is a consultant and trainer who travels often but is happiest at home in her art studio and with her husband, their dog and tabby cat. Her husband operates a business in town and is a commissioner and influencer.

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