By Adrian Garson
My dining room looks a lot like a Dollar Tree version of a classroom.
My kids are 6 and 10. Thankfully, the 10-year-old is smarter than I am, so he can pretty much handle his assignments on his own. The 6-year-old, however, is a miniature version of me and that makes things quite dicey in my household.
I come from a family of educators. My grandfather was a teacher turned principal. He was actually the principal of my elementary school and that gave me enough stories to share with my children for a lifetime.
I am also certain that’s where my particular brand of delightful rebellion first started.
I also have a few teachers on one side of my family as well and I have the greatest respect for what teachers do in this world. One great teacher can really change your life. I genuinely believe that.
I think that is why I am so disheartened by the news that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools won’t be having in-person instruction this fall. Children need an education but they also need to be in a school setting, in my opinion.
I am not a teacher by trade and I know my child’s best bet is on having a teacher who understands their individual needs, strengths and weaknesses.
I certainly do not agree with the notion that teachers are babysitters. I actually don’t know anyone personally that believes that either. But, I know the narrative has shifted to that message and I hate to see it.
This remote learning debate has caused me to think a lot about how my own childhood would have looked different if we had to do virtual learning growing up.
Mind you, when I was younger we didn’t have a computer or internet because it wasn’t around just yet. But this has made me think about the fact that my life could’ve gone in a different direction if this had been on my mom’s plate.
My mother was a single mom for the first decade of my life. She had to work two jobs at the local hospital just to keep a roof over our heads. And, often, we were left home alone when she didn’t have any other choice.
School became a second home for my brother and me. We knew we were in a structured environment, we’d be fed, and we would feel “normal.”
We could’ve both taken very different paths in life had we not had the positive experiences we did in school. Hearing the news of the virtual learning decision immediately took me back to being a 7-year-old little girl, with an 8-year-old brother at home, alone.
My heart breaks for the kids that will be left at home with little to no structure or supervision. Make no mistake, there will be kids home alone. Let’s not sugarcoat it.
This isn’t an article about my opinion on whether or not kids should be going five days a week or no days a week. But, I can understand the repercussions that will come from either scenario, and they aren’t positive.
What I hope will come from this situation is that everyone will pay closer attention to who they elect to represent them on a local level. Whether it be town councils or the school board, these are the elections that really affect our daily lives and I think we need to ensure the folks representing us are actually representative of us.
Take a closer look at the ballot and research the person you are going to trust with your future.
In the meantime, I’ll be setting up shop in my dining room and trying to keep the frustrations low.
However, I won’t be entertaining the Queen of England anytime soon unless she wants to eat Goldfish crackers and string cheese off of our paint-by-numbers homework.