Getting Schooled

Seven out of my nine grandchildren are now in school of one sort or another. Two will be going back in a couple of weeks. Some are looking at their teachers real-masked-face to real-masked-face; others are staring at a computer screen, trying their best to learn something from a face on a screen. Not sure which is better. Not my job. All I know is that every one of my grandkids will try their hardest.

But it has all got me to thinking about what my life was like in my formative school years. A lot easier than theirs is now, that I know. Sister Calista might have been mean as a snake, but at least she gave me the evil eye face-to-face if I raised my hand to go to the little girls’ room. And I could hold hands with my bff as we climbed onto the merry-go-round that scalded your little seven-year-old bare legs before you hung on for dear life as it went round and round at the speed of sound, daring us to defy centrifugal force.

Nuns, circa 1960, had a bad rap, much of which was deserved. But a lot of their teaching method was impactful. They didn’t fool around when it came to discipline, for example. As a result, there was very little messing around as we dutifully walked the couple of blocks two-by-two from our classroom to the cafeteria. There weren’t a lot of discipline problems in the classrooms either. I was a pretty good girl in school, but I watched plenty of my classmates writing I will not talk without permission or perhaps I will be respectful of others 100 times on the blackboard.

What’s a blackboard, some might ask. It was the 20th century version of the white board or the tech screen. And if you were lucky, you were asked to stay after school and clap the chalk erasers to get them ready for school the next day.

And remember the cardboard cursive letters that lined every single elementary school classroom? Neat penmanship was another specialty of the sisters. Plenty of hands got slapped because your capital L didn’t have curlycues that met their expectations.  Now I must print my birthday cards because kids don’t even learn cursive. Why would they when they will never write a letter by hand or turn in a thesis paper that was hand written?

I’m not saying my schooling was better than there’s. It’s a waste of time and energy to spend learning something that you will never have to use. If we didn’t keep up with technology, we’d all still be using an abacus. Look it up kids.

Watch out. Opinion ahead:

At some point, our children are going to have to go back to live school. Teaching by Zoom simply isn’t going to get it done. There’s little chance for kids to ask questions. Quiet kids will be eaten alive. Cheating will abound. Most important, kids learn lots of things in school that have nothing to do with their text books.

I pray for my kids and grandkids every day. But this year, special prayers are going out to both the students and the teachers who are facing unbelievable challenges.

Way worse than dealing with nuns.

4 thoughts on “Getting Schooled

  1. Hi, I’m a fifth grade teacher in a hot spot community in California. (Over 3,000 confirmed cases) Our district has decided to start the year with distance learning. However, I am very proud of how we are doing it. Last week I met with each family individually to pass out supplies, go over standards, and troubleshoot computer glitches. Our district gave each child a chromebook, binder, paper, pencils, crayons, markers, whiteboard, hat, and my team prepared packets for all. It was wonderful to meet each one of my little munchkins face to masked face. Next we will begin a schedule that mirrors regular school. 8:30-Roll and warm-up. 9:00-Writing. 10:00- P.E. etc. We will finish up at 2:30.
    Is it ideal? Nope. But I will try my best to start each day by welcoming each one of those cuties and acknowledging how they are special. I will continue to monitor their progress and provide tutoring via Zoom for those kids that need it. I also teach cursive, by the way, as it is a California standard. Kids like it and it develops fine motor skills. I also have assigned art projects such as poster and puppet making, biography costumes, and dioramas that will be shared on Zoom.
    I know this is all frustrating and challenging for families. It is for teachers too. But my first job is to keep children safe.
    Good luck to you and yours in this challenging time.

    • Thank you so much for commenting. I love how you/your school district is responding to an oh-so-difficult situation. It sounds like you are an amazing teacher. Interesting about learning cursive. In the Denver Public School system it was an elective after school activity. And I get that, given technology. By the way, I have terrible handwriting! 😏

      • Ha! I used to have horrible handwriting too. Then a professor told me I’d better start practicing or I’d never become a teacher….It’s still sloppy when I rush but if I go slow can actually look pretty.

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