Carrie Roth is an educator and parent in Keego Harbor
I am both a parent and an educator in the West Bloomfield School District. So, I have more than one perspective on the Michigan Department of Education’s statement that online learning necessitated by the novel coronavirus won’t count toward instructional requirements mandated by the state.
State superintendent Michael Rice says state law leaves the department with no options but the West Bloomfield model of cloud-based learning neds to be credited toward the official days of school. This school district’s strong model, which has been constantly evolving under our incredible leadership, is highly engaging, content rich and has provided equitable access for all of our students. In my 18 years as an educator, I have never seen my colleagues work so hard. In such dire circumstances and in such a short time, they’ve been innovative in how instruction is delivered.
Rest assured, we are educating and teaching during this time. We are professionals and masters of our craft. We weren’t asked to address a crisis, but from the bus drivers to the superintendent, we did.. We will soldier on, despite the fact that the problems change by the hour. Why? Because we care about the well-being and the education of our students.
At a meeting last Wednesday, we suspended our agenda to figure out how to get ahead of the slight possibility that our schools might close. With 25 district leaders, we developed a succinct plan and agenda for how we would prepare teachers and students for the possibility of online learning. With one day’s notice, our entire district worked tirelessly to prepare our students for weeks of home-schooling. As a parent, I received engaging, well-developed content, a stack of perfectly selected books and enough coursework for my 7-year-old to fully engage.
What impressed me most was how prepared my own kids were to engage themselves learning from home. I could hear their teachers’ voices as they each took turns running our morning meeting. They talked about strategies their teacher taught them when we engaged in writing and reading. I have been able to use their teacher’s words when instructing, because of the thought and care put into lesson plans.
Each time my daughters have interacted with their teachers, either over Zoom or through videos posted on Google classroom they’ve beamed and become more driven to complete their work excellently.
We are educators and we are doing what we do best, educating.
We have our most captive audiences right now, while everyone is at home, and in need of connection. Who better to alleviate that than a teacher? Let us capitalize during the quarantine and stress to educate and give students some routine.
When our students return to school, whenever that may be, they should be prepared and ready for success. After all, don’t forget that their academic growth depends on us.