Pandemic Philosophy
Remote Kindergarten: Day Two

Remote Kindergarten: Day One

Pour me a beer.

Overall, it went well, and Sebastian was excited and seemed to have enjoyed himself.  I like his teacher, and she did a marvelous job of understanding the limits of what the kids could do today and how to structure breaks.

How weird to have parents and other adults hovering around the margins, aware of everything going on.  I really feel for the teachers.

The day began with having to instruct kids on how to use the technology.  Something that wasn't mastered today.  For some reason, particularly in the afternoon session taught by the computer teacher, she wasn't able (or just wasn't) to mute individual students.  I lost track of how often I heard, "A--- your mic is on" as we all listened to him and an adult converse with one another.

The most exciting part of the morning for Sebastian was going over all the books and supplies in the bag sent home from school.  He was so fixated on the math book that he didn't necessarily get what came after that.

We also learned which kid raises his hand with something to say to everything (fortunately, it wasn't my kid).  

One struggle was how to introduce so many kids.  It is going to be difficult to do remote class with a full-sized classroom.  They should really think of how to break them up into smaller groups.  Because going around and having each kid share something took an exorbitant amount of time, especially when almost every single time that also involved reminding them how to use the technology (which was clearly also part of the point).  But it was easy for my kid to zone out listening to all of this from kids he's never met.  I thought of how bored he could get with Preschool Zoom share time, and that was with kids he'd known for years.

Lunch seemed too short and rushed.  It was supposed to be lunch and recess.  We headed outside to play, then saw a beautiful butterfly and spent minutes watching it, then we came in to prepare lunch together, and almost didn't have time to eat it.

The afternoon session with the computer teacher was not as successful.  For one, it began with almost fifteen minutes of her having an IT issue that she was troubleshooting live with all these five-year-olds sitting there.  Nor did it help that she used a powerpoint (not very effective in this setting).  And then she followed it up with having each kid share something.  Which they had already done that morning.  Sebastian completely checked out at that point.  So, this special class really needs to be much shorter in length in this format.  One of the struggles with all of this how much almost everything needs to be reconceived from the ground up instead of trying to simply taking what one normally does and moving it online (this is really, really hard).

The afternoon share time, in particular, was troubled by the kid who kept unmuting his microphone but also multiple distractions.  When it was a kid's turn to share and they unmuted their mic you heard all sorts of things (and I was in another room, not even the person actively engaged in the class).  We heard screaming babies, loud television being watched apparently by someone else in the house, dogs barking, conversations, and even some sibling's teacher as that sibling was sitting nearby also on their remote class.  All that distraction drove me batty, and I'm not a five-year-old trying to learn.


It was also interesting getting some sense of the variety of accommodations parents are making for this to work.  Some kids had a quiet work space and an adult reasonably nearby to help.  Others didn't.  Others were clearly sharing space with siblings.  Some were in daycare situations.  One distraught daycare worker interrupted the afternoon session thoroughly confused (we all need lots of prayer and alcohol).  Fortunately no parent inserted themself in what was going on; I had worried about that.

I think the parents/guardians might need to find a way to connect and brainstorm our ways to support what's going on.  I know that we preschool parents really pulled together in the spring and that helped a lot.

I imagine even after one day, teachers are rethinking a handful of things and adapting what they had already rushed to plan.

So we can prepare for lots of distractions, boredom, lots of breaks.  But Sebastian is also really excited to learn and is very excited by having his own tablet.  He seemed to have a good day.


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