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Here’s What Teachers Want You To Know About Distance Learning

By Abby Sandberg, Ph.D. – Learning Specialist and Division Head

You’ve probably received more emails than you can count noting the “unprecedented times” in which we are functioning these days. Right now, the whole of society is living in a way we’ve never experienced before and in a way that modern life is not designed to be. Parents have been asked to be full-time everythings: from full-time parents to full-time employees to full-time partners to full-time maintainers of their homes. While the goal to be everything to everyone 24 hours a day may sound too lofty to achieve, families are also tasked to strive for success with the usual tools and resources taken away. There are no playdates in the park, no leisurely trips to the grocery store to browse for a dinner menu, and no physical connection with other families in their support networks who are going through the same thing. Also, there was next to zero prep time to ready ourselves for our current situation. In the blink of an eye, the world was different.

What teachers want you to know is that we understand. We get it. We know that this new way to provide education to your children is another wrench in normality. Please hear us when we say that no one expects perfection- not from you, and not from your children. We know that each family is adapting and navigating the situation in their own way. Some may be diving deep into Distance Learning activities, while others may be relying on the lessons that life is handing us at the moment. Teachers want you to know that whatever approach is working for your family, it is okay. We support you. We understand that the current world situation evokes a multitude of feelings; don’t let guilt be one of them.

Teachers want you to know how much we miss your children, and miss seeing you too. We long for the days of noisy classrooms, coats in cubbies, and even the hard tearful drop offs. We miss the trustful look you give us when you hand over your most precious thing and walk out the classroom door, knowing we’ll fill their minds with knowledge and their hearts with love and compassion. We miss the A-ha! Moments, the Chair Announcements, and the gleeful rush out the door to recess to meet a new friend. These are the precious moments of life on campus, and there’s a piece missing from us when our days are void of them.

Teachers want you to know that we’re trying to figure it out too. Education has been turned upside down, and we are working as a team to transform it into a workable form. As teachers, we truly want to do our very best for each one of you. We know everyone has different needs and we want a Distance Learning program that has options for everyone. We are learning as we go, and using the UCDS approach to reflect on and refine our process. Teachers want you to know that many of us are faced with the same challenges as you- working from home with young children in tow, sharing space (and wifi) with other working members of the household, and juggling the demands of keeping a home running while confined inside of it. We’ve learned how to Zoom, how to produce videos from our living rooms, and how to engage in curricula planning meetings while feeding our kids lunch. 

The most important thing that teachers want you to know is that your children will be okay. We are here to weather the storm with you, and when things return to normal, we’ll meet each student wherever they are. Of course we welcome your engagement with our Distance Learning program, but please prioritize your child’s mental well being right now. If you have only a second to spare, spend it on nurturing your child’s emotional health. When kids return to classrooms, those who have felt the security of family and kept their love of learning alive are going to thrive. Your children will learn to read. They will master their math facts. Those skills will come. Right now, teachers simply want you to know that you’re doing great.