Are We Worried Yet? How to Survive Online School

Are We Worried Yet? How to Survive Online School

Well, here we are.

  • At home.
  • Staring at a computer
  • Trying to figure out why the zoom link doesn’t work

Groundhogs Day

It’s beginning to feel like groundhogs day, isn’t it?

We’ve been at this for a few months now, right? Yah. I think that’s right. Isn’t it like the 100th day of March? I don’t know, I can’t keep track.

But there is one thing that has changed that makes me think it might be September.

School started.

What’s the Zoom Link?

By now you or your student have gotten inundated with foreign emails. At least that is what happened to me and my son upon starting 7th grade.

At first, I thought it was spam because typically when I get emails with links that go on forever it is a sign that someone is trying to hack my account.

So I didn’t open them.

But then parents I know started talking about class codes and textbooks, and how are we gonna do band online?

My social media started being consumed with comments about how horrible this online learning will be for everyone involved.

  • Blame went to districts
  • Blame went to board members
  • Blame went to teacher unions
  • Blame went to the Governor
  • Blame, blame, blame.

But you know what happens when you blame? Nothing really, you just get really angry.

But that is what I noticed happening in my circle. People started getting angry.

You know what happens when you get angry? You look for ways to support your anger

Confirmation Bias

Enter confirmation bias.

In a nutshell, we see what we want to see.

I noticed that people I know who were vehemently opposed to online learning had all the first-day posts of their kids struggling with online learning.

Equally, I noticed that those who were not opposed to a virtual setting posted about how smooth the day went, minus a few glitches here and there.

Some of these parents had kids in the same classes.

So how was the experience so different?

Confirmation bias.

Truth is False and Lies are Truth

Confirmation bias makes us look for evidence everywhere to support our opinions. After all, if we feel that something is wrong we are not going to search for ways that WE are wrong.

So instead….

  • We see a kid having a meltdown and assume it is because of online learning
  • We notice a technical glitch and decide that online learning will never work because, technology
  • We decided that our children just cannot learn in an online environment.
  • We have a bad day and assume it is because of online learning

Nobody Wants This

Let’s first agree that nobody wants to be online. All the research tells us that no significant learning happens without a significant relationship.

While not impossible, it is challenging to create relationships with people that you only see from the neck up.

And the students? They suffer the most.

  • They don’t get to experience high school in the traditional way
  • They don’t get to see their friends and catch up on something funny that happened in the previous class during the 8-minutes of passing time.
  • They don’t get to socialize at lunch or enjoy pep rallies, football games, spirit week.

The list goes on.

You will not get an argument from me that this is an ideal situation.

But reality is not always ideal.

And blame will only make the reality even less ideal.

How Can We Make Lemonade?

Lemons. That’s what we got. A bag of slowly molding lemons.

Gross.

But this is Groves.

Let me say that again. This is Groves High School.

In my tenure at Groves, the one thing I know for certain is that we are a family.

We persevere (this is a word that I just learned to spell, by the way)

We are resilient

We are encouraging.

The Groves Way

A few years ago, Groves took on the task of creating new House Rules.

These House Rules transformed into The Groves Way, and it looks like this:

                    Give back              Give back to our community

                    Respect                 Be respectful and responsible to yourself and other

                    Open Minded       Keep an open mind avoiding judgments and stereotypes

                    Value                     Value your environment

                    Empowerment     Empower yourself and others to be the change you wish to see

                    Support                 Support and have empathy for other

 

This is who we are. We need to remind ourselves of that.

We are strong

We are fierce

We are Groves

It’s Just a Curveball

We won’t be doing virtual school forever.

We won’t be doing virtual life forever (at least I hope not or my clothes won’t fit anymore)

This is a moment in time. It does not define our entire experience.

Take the moments and make them what you need to make them empower you. Because life is not about everything happening for a reason.

Life is about things just happening and learning how to define a reason.

Resources

To be clear, I am no Pollyanna. I do realize that some students will have a very difficult time navigating this virtual space. My son is one of these learners so let me assure you, I feel your pain.

For anyone out there who is struggling, please know that you have a lot of mental health professionals in the building to support you:

  • Your School Counselor
  • Your Wellness Counselor (me)
  • School Social Worker
  • School Psychologist

We all know that this platform is extremely anxiety-producing for some among us. We want you to know that you do not have to navigate this on your own. Please reach out for help if you need it.

And remember, all you can do is the best that you can do.

So do that.

And Now, This….

Maybe you or your student need a few reasons to feel okay about being online. So this video is for you. Enjoy!

Monica Fugedi, LPC, NCC
Wellness Counselor

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