“Unpopular opinion: we should not be transitioning in-school learning to at-home learning during this time. Distance learning is one model of instruction — one that works for some students, for some families, for some teachers. But it does not work for everyone. And suddenly expecting it to work for everyone shows the extreme privilege of those making the decisions to expect all learning continue at home.
Yes, some families are gung-ho and ready to take on this challenge. The parents are staying home from work, already work from home, or are a stay-at-home parent. They have ample internet speed and device access to go around for all their children and the adults in the household trying to telecommute. The children are still motivated and focused enough to work somewhat independently, so parents can still manage their work and household responsibilities while supporting learning.
But let’s face it: that is NOT the case in the vast majority of American households.
Many older children are now caring for younger siblings as their parents continue having to work. Many families do not have access to one — let alone multiple — devices with reliable high-speed internet access. Many students are dealing with significant stress as they manage changes in their schedules, carrying the weight of adult worries, and navigate a world of social distance from friends. Even non-technology-based packets sent home require support and supervision for students to complete. Even if it’s all mastered work, what K-12 student is actually ready to be responsible for their own learning? Not to mention our students with significant disabilities who require hands-on, concrete learning opportunities who are being all but forgotten during this time.
Additionally, teachers are not all ready to take on distance learning. Some have disabilities of their own that make this very difficult to navigate. Some are dealing with mental health needs due to this crisis. Some are caring for elderly and at-risk family members who need support. Some are trying to educate their own children who are home from school.
So you have students and families that are requesting work? Great. Work with your school or school district to provide a list of parent resources. Encourage your district to send home optional packets for families who need non-technology-based resources. But no grades. No assessments. No ‘business as usual.’ Because this is NOT ‘usual.’ This is a global pandemic. Let’s focus on that rather than promoting inequities that the institution of education already so ardently upholds.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by The Neurodivergent Teacher. You can follow their journey on Facebook. The article originally appeared here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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