Editor’s note: This piece was written by Kadi-Kouyate, a member of the African Leadership Group.
Many parents have been sailing uncharted waters as school shifted to online learning. Parents have felt the strain of having to work from home while also being teachers and full-time caregivers.
When this unprecedented crisis began, I was actually excited about the opportunity to learn how to help with online tutoring. However, as we all have witnessed, the education system wasn’t ready for this upheaval. I found this to be a real disappointment. Online school became very challenging for me. I have the demanding role of the mother of a household, and suddenly I found myself having to learn and adapt to being a teacher, without the experience.
I feel very confident about my child’s courage, determination, and dedication to move forward with online school. I also know that she’s very smart. But none of us was ready to navigate the complexities: different browsers, homework with different deadlines, in different formats and from multiple teachers.
We tried to manage the online learning process as best we could, but this is very different from tutoring your child after school for an hour in the afternoon or evening. My child has received homework from several teachers, and as a parent I am expected to learn, advise and tutor her while having multiple tasks of my own to accomplish. Sometimes it seems that teachers are loading the kids with work just to show that they are still doing their jobs, while in reality parents are the ones working, teaching, and caring.
I do feel that children have learned something from this experience. I don’t feel comfortable, however, going through this same process for the fall and winter. As we all know this crisis is not over yet. As a parent I am expecting school leadership to think about the areas in which they have been unsuccessful during this crisis, and to solve those problems in an organized and systematic way by the start of the next academic year.
The bottom line is that this wasn’t a positive learning experience for anyone.