adjusting, creativity, learning, pandemic, re-mote learning, re-mote teaching, remote-learning, teaching, working together

Remote-“Busy” Work ??

I’m a teacher, but I have a complaint about some of the work given to students during this period of remote learning. Disclaimer-I’m speaking from the position as a mother when I state this point and the student, in particular, is my son. Anyone else out there feeling the same? Are you feeling the duality of roles, teacher vs. parent, more so than ever?

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As a teacher, I understand that the universal “we” as teachers want our students to not lose ground during this time. And as a special education teacher this involves working to the goals set up in each of our student’s IEP which we are required to follow by law. And I have to say that when remote learning works, it works well and when it doesn’t . . .

So it seems to me that work should only be assigned if it seeks to help the student learn the specific topic contained within said subject. Do I hear a “Ye-ah!” I thought so.

Now, I work with pre-school students, and that adds a variable of difficulty due to their maturity level, which compounded with the fact that my students are visually impaired further increases the difficulties in tele-teaching. My focus is specific to their goals, it has to be. It’s hard enough to keep their attention during a 30 minute session. In my case, “busy” work would not fly.

Photo by Anna Shvets on

That being said, last week my son, a high school senior, was given a project that looked like smelled like, sounded like and was “busy” work. And as a senior in HS, not usually a period of time when many students want to work hard, the task he was assigned was that much more onerous to him and by relation to my husband and I. Graduation is so close . . . and sometimes feels so far.

But in this time of quaran-teaming my husband and I got down to it and worked with our son to creatively tackle his assignment. It wound up becoming a good time. It was creative, collaborative, and in fact even fun. I still think my son’s project was “busy” work, but it allowed us to work together for success in a way that, at his age, my son hasn’t needed in a while. And working together toward what was now our mutual goal, we each gained so much. So in a way, although I nor my husband would ever tell his teacher this, as we don’t want more projects like it, we’re appreciative of the opportunity the “busy” work afforded us.

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The only way to get through this time is by working together.

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