Last night, I attended a 3 1/2 hour school board meeting about the reopening of school in the fall. It was a zoom meeting.
Let that sink in for a moment.
It was the first time that I had attended a board meeting since an ugly strike many years ago.
As you can imagine, the discussions were emotional. There were terrified educators and unhappy parents about the remote learning proposal.
I have been outspoken with my opinion. I ask others to do the same. I love my job, my colleagues & my students but I do not want to return until it is safe for everyone to do so.
Last night, I understood the parents of special education students that were worried about remote learning. They talked about the challenges and worries about their children falling behind.
The parents that were harder for me to understand were the kindergarten moms.
There were tears and pleas about their kindergartener missing their first day. As one particular mom spoke, she talked about her respect for teachers BUT…then shared her many disappointment.
As I listened, I wanted to shout, “Dear Kindergarten Mom…I don’t want to die for your photo op!” Is your missed morning and missed page in your scrapbook more important than my life? My son’s life?
I listened and thought. I tried to stand in her shoes. Of course, kindergarteners want to be in school, but what they need are all the very things that would be missing.
No carpet time.
No partner reading.
No read alouds on the carpet.
No choice time with Legos and puzzles.
No snack time with friends as they giggle and draw at the back table.
No high fives or hugs.
No math manipulatives.
No sharing supplies.
No holding hands.
No smiles…because they are hidden.
The single desk, placed apart from any classmate or me, will be their home…all day. That’s not the experience that kindergarteners want. That’s not what Kindergarten Mom considers as she cries.
Actually, I’m not sure Kindergarten Mom is being honest. Im not sure this is really about the student. I think this is about Kindergarten Mom’s dreams and expectations being taken away from her.
I get it, I remember my feelings and excitement as my son started at the “big school” but many people are experiencing loss. Many have experienced much greater loss than you, Kindergarten Mom.
You know what would be worse, Kindergarten Mom? You know what is harder to say than starting school remotely?
Telling your child that their teacher died. Telling your child that a classmate died. Telling your child that their music teacher died. Isn’t that worse?
There is an absolute desire to want the very best for our child. Sometimes, if we are honest, it is without thinking about others and their needs or wants.
These are unprecedented days. I ask you, Kindergarten Mom, to consider this while they grieve their first day of school.