Welp. What a difference a year makes. Sorta', kinda'.
Though grandson doesn't start middle school until next week, granddaughter starts 3rd grade tomorrow. She told me she is glad to get back to school. Her main teacher from 2nd grade has moved up with the class to provide a smoother transition from last year's virtual school to this year's back-to-campus.
Most of the COVID protocols are still in place: masks, distance between students indoors, etc., but the kids are so used to it by now that continuing to protect themselves and others doesn't bother them. And this new variant is scary, especially for young children, so I'm grateful those rules are still in place.
I've been putting together a photo book about our 2020-21 coronavirus year. While most of the photos and experiences included - holidays, the lockdown, projects - didn't dredge up too much horribleness, I have to admit the pages about virtual school caused a little trauma. It was hard. Looking back on it was hard. Remembering the internet disruptions, the app-confusions, the tears - oy! It's a wonder we're not all in therapy, especially the brave, wonderful teachers (and they may be - I'm sure they need it).
But looking over what our children learned last year - yes, even while remote from their classrooms - I'm really impressed. It was most certainly not a lost year, and I know that everyone learned all sorts of skills and adaptability that they'll carry with them from here on out.
As painful as looking back on 2020's start of school is, my main takeaway is that WE MADE IT! We all survived. Now we're ready to face a still-not-back-to-normal school year, knowing that as long as we keep each other safe through this weird virus- vaccinations, masks, distancing - we can keep going, progressing, growing.
Compare/contrast, you say? Here you go:
Back to School 2020 Back to School 2021
Set up distance learning areas at home Lay out school clothes for school
Ensure all internet access and apps work Ensure backpack is filled will school supplies
Practice patience because something will go wrong Practice patience because something will go wrong
Have plentiful snacks/water on hand Bring water bottle (no snacking in school, y'all!)
Pray all distributed instructions have been followed Pray all distributed instructions have been followed
Get to know your teachers via Zoom or Teams Get to know your teachers wearing masks
Get to know your classmates via Zoom or Teams Get to know your classmates wearing masks
Crazed parent as virtual school monitor Professional educators teaching, monitoring, caring