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Op-Ed: The Challenges of Virtual Teaching

These days parents are standing up to the challenge, devoting the energy they have (and don’t have) to take care of their families, however that may pan out. From providing three (or double that) meals a day, to signing kids into their zoom class, taking care of all the technicalities and logistics, to entertaining the younger ones somehow, keeping the children motivated and active and just attending to all their needs 24/7.

There’s so much going on that we barely have a minute to breathe, sit down, or eat. (Relaxing, what does that even mean?!)

But not too far away from you, picture another similar scene.

Another family also trying to figure everything out, but one or more spouses have to find a quiet place to be able to work. Not just any work, but to entertain 20-30 other kids, keeping them motivated, engaged and happy. To juggle the job of trying to give over some precious learning and lessons while answering everyone’s questions, comments, problems, and whatever else the kids might need to share on their minds.

They need to reassure kids, their parents that all will be ok and they’ll get through it together.

If not hard enough, these teachers are being watched every minute by the children’s parents and siblings. Backgrounds noises, conversations, laughing, screaming, sirens are added to the mix as well. And of course trying to make sure everyone stays signed in, on camera, on mike when needed, each child can be heard etc

Material still has to be prepared, packages assembled and in some cases delivered. At night, parents still call the teacher for advice and suggestions on how to make this experience as good as possible.

This is happening all while the teacher has their own family to take care of and juggle between.

Please remember, this whole current situation is no one’s fault. We are all in it together. Everyone wants this Galus to end. We all wish we could return to our classrooms, to have that freedom back, of course with Moshiach now!

As a parent and as a teacher’s spouse who sees the stress that this entails, please be mindful these days of your children’s teachers. They might be stuck in a smaller apartment than you are in, with more kids, they might have a newborn bh, they might have a relative in the hospital or even lost a loved one R”L recently, they might not have the energy after sleepless nights etc yet they have to come on each day to the class’zoom’, smile to your children, try to balance answering everyone’s questions while not losing the rest of the class from all the constant interruptions.

Be considerate, be patient, be thankful.

Please do not criticize and blame the teachers, please do not throw your own responsibilities onto them, and please work together to help our children use this time in the best way possible and to continue being the best they can be.

Reach out to the teacher to say thank you, and of course, if you have any concerns or questions, speak to them respectfully and directly. Complaining to other parents about it on WhatsApp won’t be helpful to the teacher or your child.

At the end of the day, it won’t really matter how much material they learned, but how they learned it. How they felt, how they pulled through and how they kept up the connection with all those involved in their chinuch.

It’s tough for all to sit still for so long. Use out the quality time they do get with their teacher in the best way, and the rest of the time use out for quality time with their parents, their siblings and their home.

Thank you for your understanding.

May all the learning of Tinokos Shel Beis Rabban help purify this world and usher in the Geulah Haamitis V’hashleima with the coming of Moshiach now!

Good Shabbos!