I hope they recover quickly.
That’s the thought I had most recently as I dropped my eighth grader off for her handful of days on campus this school year.
Her Junior High experience, well ... it really hasn’t been one. As schools were shut down in March of her seventh grade year and not fully reopened until just this week, it’s fair to say her class has not had the true experience that “middle” school is to offer students transitioning from elementary school to high school.
Sadly, as I type this we are actually unsure if she will be able to “walk” with the rest of her classmates for the promotion ceremony later this month. That’s not easy to share in such a public way, yet through conversation with others I have come to realize we are far from alone in this uncertainty.
It’s gut wrenching honestly, as I’ve watched a vivacious, loving, hard-working student sink to the bottom of the GPA pool. She’s right brained. Removing a student who falls into this category from a classroom setting, not to mention her creative outlets, well this is where we land.
But rules are rules, right? ... Or at least that seems to be the current case.
Since returning to campus in some areas she’s doing her best to recover from the damages of a COVID education, but she’s simply overwhelmed. She’s 13 after all and as we all know a big part of Junior High is simply learning how to socially navigate.
Before expanding further, I need to acknowledge parents of the senior class of 2021. I see you. I know your family’s struggle is much more heart wrenching than ours. I also know that a number of college campuses (if not most) have opted to ignore the 2020-21 school year for consideration with applicant acceptance. They get it and I respect that.
That being said, I’m grateful that the Class of 2021 for OHS will at least get their moment in The Corral. They deserve that.
As has been written in multiple articles, blogs and the like, these students are pioneers. No class before them has had to adapt and endure to such a learning model which truly doesn’t serve the masses. Please don’t misunderstand, that’s not a criticism of our educators. Many have worked harder than ever to serve our students, yet this is about more than staring at a Chromebook and distance learning.
As a parent it’s tough. I don’t (nor ever have) subscribed to the ‘everyone gets a trophy’ mindset. My kids have been taught to work hard and not expect things to be handed to them. They’ve also not had a mom hover over them through the past year, as there have been other factors of life going on in our household. Simply put, our lives could not be put on hold to accommodate the voids of distance learning. Hindsight of course is 20/20 and as I lose sleep at night over the potential of what’s to come, I question my own decisions and how could I have done better - to help my daughter.
Yet here we are. A mom conflicted as I look at my kid and come to grips with the fact that just as her junior high experience has been less than ideal, so too will be her completion of one crappy school year if she can’t pull off this Hail Mary.
So where am I going with this some might ask? Well, it’s really quite simple. For those like us, know you are not alone. Your kids (most likely) are good, hardworking, respectful children who woke up one morning to a log in and a Google Classroom.
How could we know it would last as long as it did or have the significant impact that it did?
As for this mommy who happens to be “musing,” my hope is that she can pull it off and recover that South of the Border GPA.
If not, well we’ll do what good sports do. We’ll simply stand up, dust off and proceed forward. What I know for sure is this past 13 months says more about the adults in charge than it does the children showing up in pursuit of an education.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.