Friday, March 20, 2020

Making fun of teachers' efforts

This morning as I glanced at the news, I found one article that poked fun at teachers' at-home learning menus. As a teacher who did create an at-home, color-coded learning menu, I was sensitive when I read that,  but not surprised. As a teacher, I'm used to being the butt of jokes, disrespect, and criticism as that's a hobby for Americans, some who even are family members of mine.

Yes, a color coded, ambitious learning menu is not ideal. What's ideal is having a terrific learning environment staffed with educational professionals to meet the needs of children with time-on-task engaging activities every day, but during this period of school cancellation, that's not possible. There are clearly multiple other ways to engage students while they are at home, and using a menu approach was one way to connect students to multiple learning opportunities to continue their learning and add some structure to their days.

My team and I thought a lot about our menu and included activities to continue the focus of our at-school learning. We also included lots of other ideas that children and families may find interesting or inspiring. Some teachers are adding virtual meetings, lessons, and coaching too.

So, as I think about this more, I implore news agencies, parents, and others to resist slamming teachers at this time with mean critique and judgement, but instead, focus on supporting your children in ways that matter most to you. Some families will continue their child's education with menus and see those menus as helpful, others may find other useful learning techniques, and there may be some who just let their children play and do what they want. Is there a right answer in all of this? I guess the right answer is to use this time to connect as family members, read, cook, play games, create, and, if possible, complete some tasks suggested by teachers to gain grade-level skills and strength so you're ready when school opens up again.