What a crazy time we are in. Who would have known that we would be opening a school year with students staying at home and teachers putting in countless hours of prep time for regular school? Sadly, no one knows how long this is going to last, but it has changed education to our new “normal.” I can speak for the MISD technology department that has been putting in countless hours setting up student accounts, resetting passwords, helping parents with technology that they have no idea how to use, ordering equipment, and of course, talking with teachers and trying to help find the easiest ways for them to do their job.
I have learned a few things that I believe will help all of us: Whether you are a parent, a grandparent, a teacher, or someone who is trying to do their best to support and cheer on the kids during this time, have a Plan B. Technology is amazing when it works, but don’t always count on it working the entire time. Sometimes the internet will go out, or the battery on the Chromebook will be dead, or maybe there are glitches in the program, which will prevent it from working the way it should. Always have a backup plan in case things like this happen. For those dealing with limited internet, your child can go to a spot that has WiFi, open up all the assignments and download them automatically. Then your child can work on them at the house without having internet. Just remember that when it’s time to submit the assignments, they must have internet to do so.
It’s all in our attitude. Remember the Charles Swindoll quote: “Life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent of how I react to it.” No matter what role we have in education, we must realize there are going to be several things that are[Office1] out of our control. One day during the first week of school, Google servers had issues, so most teachers were not able to use Google Meet to video conference with their students. I could have gotten mad and quit my job over it, or I could realize that it’s out of my control and that I will make it up the next day. Just go with the flow and know that it always gets better. Identify what you can change — and do something about it. If you cannot change it, then why waste your energy stressing out about it?
Virtual learning is not going away. Although we had not really dived into virtual learning at Midland ISD before COVID-19, we had to adapt and change to this style almost overnight. There are going to be kids who will learn the best having online classes – so we must adapt to their needs. The Midland Online Academy was created to help fulfill the needs of these students, and the teachers are doing a phenomenal job changing their teaching styles to meet the kids right in their homes. As we still don’t know how it will look like once all the kids are back in school, we must be prepared to ensure virtual learning is an option.
Ultimately, I believe that all of these points can be summed up in one key word: flexibility. This time has been the hardest on those who are not able to be flexible. I am learning – and still learning – that all of our roles in education are changing by the day, and so we must learn to adapt as it changes. Maybe there’s an area in technology that you don’t have a lot of knowledge in – watch YouTube videos or ask a friend to show you more about it. Maybe there’s a school subject that you don’t know much about. Reach out to the teacher for resources. In order to get through this, all of us — no matter our role — must be able to change how we do things to make it possible for our kids.
I challenge all who are reading this to remember that our children are the key priority in education; that is why we are here. Be patient and know that it always gets better. The more we learn, the better people we become, and I believe that’s exactly what our children are going to apply during this crazy time.
D.J. Rambo is IT customer support coordinator for Midland ISD.