Nobody really knew just how long we would be virtually schooling our kids during this shitshow of a year. For some, it was the only option and others were able to return in person or engage in a hybrid situation.
We made the decision to keep our middle school daughter virtual. It wasn’t an easy one.
It’s her first year of middle school. A rite of passage. She should be experiencing chats in the halls with friends, the allure of having a locker for the first time and all the other “big kid” things.
Instead, she learns each day on her computer while I work from home in the next room.
There are some major perks for her.
She gets lunch-to-order every day and I have essentially become room service. She can take breaks between classes and play with her little sister.
She can ride her scooter outside as her PE activity. And I get perks too like getting more time with her than I would normally.
But I have noticed, ever since this started, that there are kids acting like raging assholes, disrupting teachers, classes and making it hard for everyone to concentrate. And it’s not ok.
There are some complications, though.
It’s not lost on me that I have a unique vantage point since I work from home and can pop in anytime I want to check out what’s happening.
I realize many parents work out of the home and may not have the same level of accessibility that I have to my daughter’s Google meet sessions.
I also recognize that many parents have simply had it. They didn’t sign on to teach their own kids and patience is dwindling. I’m with you on that. I get it. I really do.
But there are way too many parents who have their head in the sand about their kids’ behavior during virtual school and we all need you to step it up and pay attention.
A few days ago, my daughter called me in her room because this boy, who is a constant disruption, was on a tear. I know sometimes kids can be dramatic, so I took a few minutes to sit in her room and observe.
And what I saw wasn’t pretty. He was taunting the class in the chat.
Making constant audio calls through the meet.
Calling classmates “bitches” because they were ignoring him and trying to concentrate.
He told kids verbally that nobody liked them and they should leave the class. He was out of control and the rest of the class was begging him in the chat to stop and telling him he was being mean and that they were trying to focus.
This happens in various forms every day in some of her classes and after talking to other parents with kids across different schools, it’s apparently not uncommon.
I immediately emailed the teacher and administration telling them exactly what I saw, and they said they would address it right away.
Of course, in regular in person school, we expect teachers to keep kids in check. And you’d think the same is true for virtual classes. However, we know that bullying – both in person and cyber – happens right under teachers’ noses every day.
But we as parents are the gatekeepers to our kids’ behavior and some of you are not paying attention and you need to start because your kids are being assholes.
This behavior doesn’t happen overnight.
In my experience, the kids who treat others with disrespect don’t typically do it once. The bullies do it habitually. And because many parents don’t witness these things happening firsthand, they play the whole “not my kid” card.
But it might be your kid.
Please stop being naïve and enabling.
You may not have signed on for school in a pandemic when you became a parent, but we all have the job of disciplining our children and teaching them to respect others.
We are all charged with raising good humans, and you being “tired” of dealing with schooling in a pandemic is not a valid reason to drop the ball.
Middle school is a tough age and we personally have unfortunately had to deal with multiple situations regarding bullying.
And every time it’s the same thing. The kid’s parents think there is no way possible their child would every cause harm – physically or emotionally – to another person. Or, “kids are just being kids”. Or, “you don’t know him…he’s so sweet and there must be a misunderstanding or he must have had a bad day.” Or, “Your kid must have provoked her.”
Just stop it. This kid who I watched with my own eyes singlehandedly disrupt a class with his relentless inappropriateness, didn’t just magically morph into a bully on this google meet.
I find it hard to believe his parents are completely unaware of his behavior in general.
So that means they either don’t want to deal with it, don’t care, or don’t think there is an issue, and none of those options are ok.
Your kid doesn’t live in a bubble.
They are interacting with other students and teachers whether they are in person or virtual and it’s YOUR job to make sure they know how to treat others. Obviously no child is perfect and they are bound to slip up, presenting teachable moments for all of us.
But the longer you stay checked out, the more damage your child is doing to others and frankly themselves.
Please check in on your kids and don’t assume anything.
Watch a google meet for yourself once in a while or if you have someone else monitoring your kids while you are at work, ask them to.
Talk to your kids about their classes and what’s going on in them.
Check in with teachers. But please for the love of god do not just throw in the towel because you are tired. Because I’m tired of watching your kids torment others and make a hard situation even harder. Please do better.