Torn Between Two Lovers
Some of you may recall (if you are old enough) this old song about a woman who has had an affair but professes to love both men still. Well, put that part out of your mind, because I am really talking about ambivalence—having simultaneous and contradictory feelings about something. I’m still not talking about a man, though I understand why you’d go there.
I am talking about the best, the “right” thing to do by our children with regard to in-person or virtual instruction. Our district’s supervisors are working daily on trying to figure out what is best for kids. Virtual instruction seems in many ways like the right thing to do during a global pandemic. It provides students with an education while keeping everyone safely away from each other so that they don’t get sick.
But how is this affecting our kids and staff on a daily basis? Teachers are worried about their students. Some students are having real difficulties accessing the internet. Others have not even logged in since school started. How are parents to monitor this? At this point, students haven’t been in school in about seven months. Some are in challenging family circumstances which add other layers of concern for our teachers. So maybe in person instruction is the best? Is the risk worth it? For some people, yes it is.
Then of course there are our teachers, who I hope are taking FULL advantage of their free counseling sessions through the Employee Assistance Program with A Chance to Change. There are lots of changes associated with altering your method of instruction completely. Add to that the concern for students' and their own safety. What is best for them depends on whom you ask.
Frankly, there is no “right” answer, but I will tell you the wrong answers: ignoring the realities on the ground, threatening staff or school board members for not making the decision you think is best, being too cautious instead of triaging the situation, delaying the sharing of plans which creates more uncertainty. These tactics—or the lack thereof—only serve to make a difficult situation untenable. We must work together to address the best thing we can do today for our students and staff. Not "what is best," but what is best for today.
And let's try on some common sense pants, shall we? Let's give each other some grace. We're all experiencing difficulty, so we must lift each other as best as we can, even when they disagree with our assessment of "what's best."
by Jennifer Seal
September 17, 2020