I get it. Virtual learning is hard. And if we’re honest, it just plain sucks. From trying to get each kid to their meets on time, having them do their learning videos, and let’s face it, technology issues are a mega pain in the butt. And if your kids are like mine, they’re trying to kill each other. All. Damn. Day. 

We have four kids, kindergarten to eighth grade. Each one has been handling virtual school in their own way. Some days are okay, and others are horrendous with much yelling and slamming of doors. We talk to them about how it’s okay to be mad, depressed, or any other feeling they’re having. These feelings are normal, and almost everyone is feeling something similar. But it comes down to how we handle these feelings. Children will face situations that are hard to deal with their entire lives. Parents must help children constructively manage these emotions. 

We have explained why they are virtually learning on their level. We have done our best to remain positive, so they, in turn, are also. Children will mimic the behavior they see. If all a parent does is bitch about virtual learning, complain about how teachers aren’t doing their jobs, then their children will do the same. 

No matter what you believe about the severity of this virus: bullying our teachers is never okay!

Parents are children’s first teachers, but that doesn’t end once they reach school age. This isn’t like a tag team wrestling match where you tag the teacher and you’re done and sit idly by. Instead, a parent works with the teacher, enhancing what they learn in school. Plus, a parent teaches what children don’t always learn in school. 

I agree that children learn better in the school environment, with teachers who are trained to teach. Where they get to see their friends, run around at recess, and chat during lunch break. They learn more than just academics in school. 

It’s okay to be mad about the state of the world right now. It’s okay to have pandemic fatigue. But belittling and bullying teachers and school boards is not okay. 

Every teacher I know, is working harder and more hours than they ever have before. They spend the entire school day meeting with students. Then in the evenings and on weekends, they are recording lesson videos and grading assignments. Not to mention helping their own children throughout the day. 

These teachers would rather be in their classrooms, teaching how they do best. They are stretched to their limits and beyond. Yet, they continue to teach because it is who they are. 

Protest upon protest has been held outside administration buildings, trying to get the board to change to in-person schooling. Parents start social media groups with the intent of gathering numbers to force these changes. These groups have been verbally brutal, and my heart goes out to every teacher and school board member.

I know school boards are not perfect. There are areas where they fail. But these people are human with the weight of an entire district on their shoulders. 

Think about the mental toll that they have to live with every day. Maybe, if you look deep enough, you will understand this and give them a little compassion. They are not the enemy. This virus is. 

But, like everyone else right now, they are doing their best. The board is responsible for thousands of children’s and staff’s physical and mental health. They know any option they decide on will not make everyone happy. They don’t take these decisions lightly. They pour over CDC guidelines, numbers of positive results week after week, and space available in buildings.

Parents need to look at the situation realistically. 

The thing is, many schools are overcrowded. When eighty percent of families say they want in-person school, it is impossible to have students social distance. 

There is a shortage of substitute teachers. What happens then when a teacher is sick? In the past, if there wasn’t a sub available, kids simply joined another class. That is not an option this year. 

We all know children are mega germ farms. Colds, stomach flu, and influenza sweep through classrooms with lightning speed, kids dropping left and right. They bring the germs home to their siblings, parents, and everyone else they come into contact with. So what makes anyone think that COVID will be different? 

As parents, how we handle situations out of our control will significantly impact how our children will do the same. If we complain frequently, say bad things about others, and belittle everyone who disagrees, our children will do the same. 

Everyone is doing the best they can, including school board members and teachers. Let’s try to remember that in the new year and show them some compassion.