1) We value and appreciate you
The most important message we want to relay to parents is: thank you. Thank you for your flexibility, your patience, and your support for your children (and us, the teachers).
This has been a challenging time for everyone with limited social interaction, switching to remote learning, parents being their child’s primary educator, economic implications, working from home, etc. Teamwork has been needed like never before, and you as parents have answered that call.
Thank you for your grace when technology hasn’t worked when it's supposed to, when we were interrupted by our own children during a virtual class, and when we were just as lost as you. We know that you are tired and that none of this is easy. We know how you feel, and we feel the same.
2) If possible, don’t end remote learning early
Please keep your students engaged in remote learning! We know it's hard and that everyone is ready to be done, but remote learning is our best and only option right now to provide instruction. It keeps your child in the learning mindset, gives them exposure to new material or reviews learned skills to help mitigate any loss, and allows them an outlet to maintain connections to teachers and classmates.
Your child's teacher(s) can help you determine the most crucial aspects of remote learning to continue. If there are barriers, please communicate with teacher(s) so they are able find ways to support you!
3) Social-emotional well-being comes first
The number one focus should be on your child’s social-emotional well-being. This is part of your child’s most basic needs, and has to be met first before your child will benefit from anything else.
- Find a way to communicate with your child that allows him or her to share in safe way – through open dialogue, writing in a journal back and forth, drawing pictures about feelings, wishes, etc.
- Help your child find a way to maintain connections with classmates and friends – set up virtual meetings so they can talk face-to-face, consider access to kid-appropriate messaging, teach them how to talk (rather than text) on the phone, and get creative with any other ideas you may have.
4) Find the balance for summer break
With many summer camps closed this year, you may find yourself continuing to work from home while caring for your children. Or, you may be more concerned about regression in learning due to COVID-19. Regardless, you may want to consider creating a structured plan for summer.
Set a schedule that promotes engagement of the whole child – gross motor, fine motor, emotional, creative and academic development. For more information and ideas, listen-in to my on-demand webinar, 'A SPED Teacher's Survival Guide for Parents during the Summer of Uncertainty'.
5) Next school year is going to be great
There’s so much uncertainty about next year, but I can assure you that we are advocating for your kids!
We all know that being quarantined has had an impact on the social-emotional well-being of our children. They have missed out on field trips, graduations, end-of-year celebrations, yearbook signings...all of the events that provide closure for the school year.
We also know that remote learning is not a duplicate to the traditional classroom experience. Just remember: ALL students have missed out on instruction, so NO ONE is behind because EVERYONE is behind.
Trust these thoughts are in the forefront of teachers’ and administrators’ minds when planning for next year, beginning with a focus on social-emotional learning and reaching back to the previous grade to teach missed material.
We will get great things out of next year because we will put great things and positive assumptions into it!