No one said schooling would be easy this year.
In-class instruction is anxiety-producing for families and teachers. Staying home has its own set of problems. I’ve been communicating with a parent well-known to me about her family’s struggles with virtual schooling. She said I could share her final chapter, cleansed of identifying names of families, teachers, principal and school.
It happened in Arkansas. I suspect her frustration is not isolated.
This is the last update on Ms. Doe’s class, which is a virtual kindergarten class that includes 35 kids from two schools. Despite being strong advocates of public schools, we’re pulling our daughter out and finding a home school solution. We’re fortunate to even be able to afford this option. I know of at least one other parent in the class who is pulling her daughter out of school and going to homeschool as well.
Yesterday was Day 9 and still connection issues to the teacher. She was breaking up and then left for the rest of the afternoon yet again. We have never even received a single email from the teacher or principal explaining what is happening and outlining steps to fix it. When we reach out to them ourselves, we’re told to be patient and that they are aware of the issue.
I didn’t realize it before, but this virtual class also contains kids who are actually at school. Everyone has a Chromebook and is taking the class virtually. 
There were two days when the teacher was using her personal hot spot from her phone and could connect just fine, but she stopped being able to do that (ran out of data, maybe?) and the mess started again. And again, no email to explain what even happened. A parent ended up trying to teach the class.
There was also a day the teacher left her microphone on during a break and didn’t realize it. We heard her say that she had so many e-mails from parents and wished they would leave her alone.  I know it was a moment of frustration and I’m not blaming her for needing to vent. No one should be defined by their low moments. But it wasn’t pleasant from the parent end.
Yesterday during lunch break she was (accidentally?) sharing her screen so we could see her checking her e-mail and shopping online during the break. The parents were asking, “Mrs. Doe, are you there?” She never spoke to us.
The principal sent a note to us earlier this week after we sent an e-mail outlining the issues in the class. The principal wants us to hang in there a little longer as issues are addressed. But when will they be addressed? How will they be addressed? We’ve already had nine days of staring at a screen and wasting our entire day with a stressed-out kiddo by our side. She has been crying and there have been a few times when we’ve heard other kids crying.
I didn’t realize students would be expected to be in front of a screen the whole day. Maybe I was naïve. We were told virtual school was a “flexible” option.