We’ve heard a lot from parents in recent weeks about their fears over sending kids to school and anxiety over the consequences of remote learning. It has been intense.
No one wants to make the wrong choice and every parent we’ve heard from feels that they are being forced to make choices that might not be exactly right for their families.
And now, thanks to two incredibly written Facebook posts, we’re seeing a close-up debate boil over about how teachers are feeling too.
Last week, a Facebook page called Honestly Though WTF posted a welcome message to kindergartners from the perspective of a teacher.
The post is presumably intended to be satirical in nature to highlight just how much we expect of teachers in the time of COVID. The post is, as anyone can imagine, frustrating and sad in nature.
The post starts off:
“Hi! Welcome to Kindergarten! I’m your teacher, I’m so happy you are in my class! Sorry you can’t see my smile.
Please don’t be frightened, please don’t cry…if I could I would hold your hand & guide you down the hall, but I need to keep my distance. Is that your new friend?
Please back away! Don’t get near anyone. We need to be safe!! No, I’m not on fire. It’s called fog because I’m human and I’m breathing.
What’s the question…Is COVID-19 killing humans? ? What did your mom & dad say? ?
I’m not sure how to answer that.”
The writers of the post, Millie Litten & Viviana Holguin, walk readers through a scary day in which little kids can’t touch anyone, can’t learn properly because of masks and distancing, and can’t even get a drink of water form the classroom fountain.
“Here’s your Chrome Book. Isn’t it cool? No, it’s not a touch screen like your mommy’s phone or your tablet…. that’s a keyboard it has letters on it.
Yes I’m going to teach you how to use it. No, that’s the number 1 not the letter L.
I know, they look the same. But I’m sure you’ll be fine working online from home 3 days a week and coming to school 2 days a week, that won’t be at all Confusing, now will it?
What’s that? You want to learn how to read? We will try the best we can….. Why are you crying?,” the post reads.
The post captured the emotional zeitgeist of the moment and more than 23,000 comments flooded in over the course of a week.
Parents and teachers all venting about how prison-like the new school year will be, and how sad it is that our kids have to endure even more trauma. As a parent, I totally feel for these teachers and kids in such a shitty predicament.
A week after the post exploded on Facebook and was shared 192,000 times, a teacher named Dana Stephenson Kimmell stepped into the ring and threw down a different perspective.
And honestly, it’s pretty damn refreshing and awesome.
For her, being the guiding light to her students by approaching the school year with optimism, love, and and a Can Do It attitude is exactly what is missing.
Of course, COVID sucks. And yes, everyone is upset and scared. But, as Kimmell points out, that is no reason to scare the shit out of kids.
Her post starts out that they will also be wearing masks and social distancing in her classroom, and that she is admittedly writing her post in response to the other one, but here’s her take:
“Hi! Welcome to Kindergarten! I’m your teacher, I’m so happy you are in my class!
Look at my cool face shield!! Do I look like an astronaut?
Maybe you’ll get an astronaut helmet too! Oh I know you’ll miss mama, this mama misses her babies!
but GUESS WHAT….we get to see them again in just a little bit!!!
Look! A new friend! Y’all are going to have so much fun at recess! It’s time to go inside now….Give mama a HUGE squeeze, one you’ll feel in your heart all day until you see her after school!!
It’s time to wash our hands then find our spots!
Let’s learn a hand washing song!
Are you ready?”
Did you catch the difference? Kimmell is also using satire to make a point, one that is sorely needed; optimism and kindness will help us get through this disaster.
There is no reason why we can’t adjust our attitudes to make the best of what can only be described as an entirely crappy situation.
When our kids are being caught in the middle of a culture war over masks and school openings — something that is absolutely not their fault — the least the grownups can do is act like the adults in the room and create a space free of fear.
The other teachers that seemingly have a more “negative” slant aren’t wrong though either. Those teachers are now on the front lines and their points are valid, too.
The dueling messages between these two posts illustrate something yet another viral Facebook post totally nailed: we’re stuck between a rock and hard place.
Parents know this, which is exactly why we’re stressed out.
And, as one parent wrote below, parents are not OK. Her post also went viral on Facebook.
“If you’re wondering why parents are so incredibly stressed out, it’s pretty straightforward, and it’s not that we just need a break or can’t effectively do our jobs or are struggling with all the normalcy we’ve lost with friends and family, though all of this would be more than enough.
Parents are struggling because literally every decision we make now feels like a choice between our children’s mental and physical health.
And whatever we choose, half the people we know will think we’re either reckless with our children’s lives, or ruining their lives with our “paranoia.”
It’s a fucking nightmare.
Parents are not okay,”
No matter what you plan to do about school in the fall, just remember to go easy on yourself, your kids, and your kids’ teachers. This is hard on all of us.
You can see all three original posts below:
Hi! Welcome to Kindergarten! I’m your teacher???, I’m so happy you are in my class! ? Sorry you can’t see my smile. ?…
*we will ALSO be wearing masks within 6ft!**Dear Kindergarten Parent, I felt the need to post in response to another…