I Survived Virtual School

As our virtual- yes, virtual- school year comes to a close, I’m able to exhale. Not a full exhale yet, but more like the slow release of air out of a balloon. I’m sure you can hear the high pitched squeaky noise. That’s me right now- squeaking away. Mind the squeak. 

It’s been 442 days since they stepped foot into a classroom and I have felt…Every. Single. Day. I’m sure they have too, even if they won’t admit it. Don’t get me wrong- the incredible moments were in lock step with the impossible moments and sometimes they happened simultaneously. To describe it as a rollercoaster ride would be an understatement.  Twist, turns, loop the loops, backwards, forwards, free falls, and my favorite- abrupt, jerky stops. It’s been a wild ride. 

But, in all seriousness, I’ve seen the magic. A child begin to read, another child turn into a math wizard, and yet another one become a phenomenal writer. Confidence and comfort and creativity and care have filled this house despite the noise, chaos, and tantrums from both little and big people. 

To support and witness this in your own children has been a gift. I sacrificed a lot to be their guide this year and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Mama bear is alive and well. 

I’ve only ever gotten snippets or the familiar answer, “fine”, to the question, “how was [in person] school”? I’ve wondered what else could accompany that “fine” answer. What really happened inside of the building? What did you learn, explore, or create? Make new friends? Felt sad or happy? Best or worst day of your life? I realize that I was guilty of this too as a child. No need to revisit the entire day in detail. Let’s move on to the next fun activity. So then, why do adults do this? Do they need more feedback and support or have they just forgotten how to move on and play? Maybe there’s nothing else to say so they revert to the minutes of whatever they just experienced? As I write this, the jingles from some of the science videos my kids watch that explore wonder questions are now on repeat in my head. If you’ve also been in the thick of it, I’m sure you can hear them now too!

It continues to be an eye opening experience. What do they need, what’s missing, and where do they go from here? It’s been a process, a struggle, and an intense time that will remain seared in my mind forever. 

Thank you life, thank you science, thank you teachers, thank you family, thank you friends, and thank you perseverance and tenacity for making this simultaneously the best and worst year. Now let’s move on and go play because soon everything will be, “fine”.

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