A Letter To My Child’s High School Teacher

To my child’s high school teacher,

I know you’re tired.  You’re spending your days online and your eyeballs ache from it.  You’re posting assignments, not just busy work but carefully considered plans and work intended to keep your students sharp.  You’re balancing your own life throughout this, just like the rest of us.  You’re feeling the same hot, itchy discomfort I am, not knowing when this will end and getting a bit stir crazy at this point.

You’re missing your kids while I’m more than ready to send mine back to you.  This is not what we signed up for, is it?  You’re supposed to have my rugrats roughly 40 hours a week, and I’m supposed to have a break from the insanity I spawned.  It’s just so much freaking time together.  I’ve always been in awe of homeschooling parents, but now I have even more respect for them.

I know, I know.  What I’m doing right now with my kids/your kids is not homeschooling.  I’m not the one planning the lessons.  I just facilitate, which translates to me nagging my children all the blessed day to do the work you took the time to assign.  It must be important work or you wouldn’t assign it, right?  I tell them that, but you know how it is.  I’m their Mom, so I know nothing.

(Until they become Mom, then they’ll appreciate the heck out of me. )

But really, when it comes to algebra, I do know practically nothing.  Y’all, when letters are thrown into the math problems, I’m out.

Nonetheless, I press on.  I withhold my teenager’s phone until she completes the work you assigned.  If she doesn’t understand the lesson, we consult our second best teacher, good ‘ole YouTube.  I dare say Mrs. YouTube can teach just about anything.  Thank God, because I took French in high school and have no understanding of Spanish beyond what Dora the Explorer taught me.  I know, I know.  French was not a good choice, but here we are.

At the end of the week, we’ll scan all of this work with my phone and email it to you, assuming my archaic wifi works.  We can’t send any work via Schoology because our internet times out before the files send.  It’s a headache for me, but I know it’s a full blown migraine for you.  After all, you’re getting over a hundred emails a week, just in completed work.

That is assuming all of your students are doing their work, and I figure the odds of that are about as good as us waking up tomorrow and this having been a collective bad dream, like that entire season of Dallas decades ago.

It must be frustrating spending all that time planning and assigning when only a handful of kids will even do the work.  Some legitimately don’t have internet access, sure, but most took the state superintendent’s words to heart and just plain aren’t doing the work.  After all, if my daughter had an A last nine weeks and nothing she does or doesn’t turn in is allowed to hurt her grade, why should we even do the work?  Why would I spend the hours nagging her and fighting my internet?

Why?  Because this matters.  All of this matters.

Though this COVID-19 quarantine feels like an eternity, this season of our lives is just a blink.  This will not last forever.  I can’t hear those words enough right now.  They’re the light at the end of this tunnel, right?

But you know what does last forever?  The value of an education.  Yes, what you are doing and what I am facilitating has tremendous value.  Maintaining your students’ skills, even if you and I don’t manage to teach them anything new during this season, is important.

But mostly, modeling that loving to learn is a constant state of mind, regardless of their location or time in history, is vital.  They aren’t physically in your classroom, but they still need to know that you love what you teach so much that you’re willing to sacrifice achy eyes and sleepless hours to get the material to them.

They need to read your responses to their emails so they know that you really do care.

They need their parents to give a crap, to give so much crap, in fact, that they’ll sacrifice peace in their homes in order to make sure their kids are doing what they are supposed to be doing.

I must continue to be your teacher’s assistant, The Great Facilitator, and even though you’re frustrated and tired, I need you to continue to do this Most Important Work.  99 kids may have elected to end their school year, but my one is the only one that matters to me right now, and she still needs you.

Please keep showing up.  Continue to inspire your kids.  Even from a distance, you can lead them by modeling your own love of learning and passion for teaching.  I see how much you’re hurting and how very frustrated you are with this situation.  You’re not alone.  We’re all holding our breath, waiting for the next change in the tentative plans.

We’re all tired.

But, goodness, we need you.  I need you.  As long as you continue to guide my child, I will hold her hand and tug her along.  It won’t be easy.  It won’t be pretty.  We’re going to get a lot of those algebra problems wrong, and I’m not going to understand the paragraph she wrote for Spanish II.  But we’ll keep on trying as long as you do.

What you are doing matters.

Please press on.

XO,

Jena

P.S.  We’re rocking art class over here.

IMG_1977

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