I have two kids at two different schools this year – one New Orleans public school and one private school – and I myself work at a third New Orleans public school.
If you think we’re all losing our minds right now trying to keep track of emails, Zoom links, Google Classroom codes, and virtual trainings/orientations … well, hoo boy, you would be SO right!
Between the book pickup for my older daughter last Thursday, the book pickup for my work yesterday and today, and the book pickup for my younger daughter ALSO later today, I feel like my head might actually explode, and that’s just one facet of the overall back-to-school experience, to say nothing of the other stuff like making basic meals, ordering groceries, and trying to keep everyone in clean underwear.
Still, though, it’s not all bad. Here are five things I’m excited about (and, because I am, at heart, a pessimist, three things I’m dreading).
- Flexibility. My older daughter is a pretty typical learner but has crippling anxiety. My younger daughter is happy-go-lucky but absolutely textbook ADHD. At-home learning gives me the ability to tailor things to the way they both learn best.
- No carpool line. Nothing brings out my inner bitch more than people who dawdle in the carpool line. I am pretty sure my younger daughter learned most of the best curse words she knows from extremely indelicate things I said while stuck behind someone who was buttoning their kid’s shirt with less than 30 seconds to the late bell.
- Communal learning. Yes, I know we’re supposed to be avoiding people, but we have let one other family into our “bubble” and they also have a rising third-grader, so even though our kids have never been at the same school, I am thrilled that we can try to teach them together this year.
- So much less to remember! A normal week has a ton of stuff for me to keep track of: library on Wednesday, swimming on Thursday, dress-up on Tuesday, folders due back on Monday. In addition, there are uniforms to wash and set out. With distance learning, every day is Pajama Day, and I don’t even need to set a calendar reminder.
- Fewer germs generally. Even in the innocent pre-COVID days, I always hated back-to- school time because one or both of my kids would bring home a snotty respiratory illness – or worse, the dreaded stomach bug. With all of us staying home, I am pretty sure we can manage to avoid a lot of this grossness.
And what am I NOT looking forward to?
- The togetherness. Don’t get me wrong; I love this much family time, but my girls bicker constantly, the dog whines to go out or eats something he shouldn’t while I am in a Zoom meeting, my husband is also working from home, and we have absolutely no privacy or time to ourselves.
- The state of the home. I’m busy. Did I mention I’m busy? Also we are all busy. My home is never exactly what one might call clean, and honestly, it never really has been since I had kids. But before, I didn’t have to look at it all day, just shaming me with the sink full of dishes, the tumbleweeds of dog hair, and the mountains of laundry (clean and unclean). Now it is inescapable.
- Math. I can’t teach math. I have never been able to teach math. Even back in high school, when I worked as a volunteer tutor, I would get frustrated when the students I was helping didn’t understand. Math just is. It just works. I don’t know how or why … it just does. My normal line when my kids ask for help is: “If I wanted to teach math, I would’ve become a math teacher. Ask your math teacher!” But this year, at least for now, I kind of … am … their math teacher.
What about you? What are you looking forward to – or NOT looking forward to – during this crazy COVID year?
Happy back to school, everyone!