I’m getting tired of hearing all this talk about students falling behind academically during the pandemic. It turns out that remote learning is a completely different beast than learning in brick and mortar schools. As if that model was working so splendidly for academic achievement. The fact of the matter is that regular school sucked, for a whole lot of reasons and online school sucks for a whole lot of other reasons.
The main thing that makes online school suck is the thing that makes IRL school not suck: socializing. Yeah, that is the main reason kids want to come to the brick and mortar, to see their friends! It’s not about the academics, it’s about relationships. And it turns out that the online school provides unheard of opportunities without the physical constraints of the building.
I never liked hearing “be in your seats and ready to learn”. What a stupid idea. We all learn all the time, not just in the classroom. For most of us, the classroom is a distraction from authentic learning, learning from your environment, your family, your culture and most importantly, your interests.
No one knows what to do about our situation. That means that we all are truly on an equal footing in terms of what we should be doing. Top down decision making in the schools has always been a major barrier to school improvement but with the COVID, as is true in so many cases of inequity in our society, top down decision making has been proven to be a fool’s errand.
The Superintendent doesn’t know what to do anymore than the custodian but I would place my bets with the practicality of the essential worker over the fluff at the top. The truth of the matter is that we all need each other to get through this, we are all learning how to do remote learning together and therefore we have to be willing to rethink our initial plans from the summer to adapt them to our lived experience.
Tech skills are slowly improving. Scheduling can be made much more flexible to efficiently teach whole classes in short blasts while giving more individual and small group attention. We are moving forward together. Imagine the earth hurtling around the Solar System and through the Universe, no matter where you are or which direction you are pointed on the surface, you are still hurtling through space with everyone else. That is how the individuals and tribes swim through history. Everyone does their own thing but it’s always just a part of everything.
We aren’t going back to the old ways. The old ways were dominated by the hierarchy of white supremacy culture. We can see that the hive mind is a better decision maker. We are not falling behind.