COVID ah mash up mi life!
The school term has just officially started, and already parents and teachers are drowning in despair. The global pandemic has not only forced us to live like hermits, but it has thrown us overboard into a sea of mental anguish.
It’s bad enough that we have to cope with daily challenges, let alone the added task of online classes.
Please, do not get me wrong, I am in total agreement with keeping our children at home, but what I was not prepared for is the constant face-off with technology, online classes, plus having to juggle it with work-from-home obligations.
The Ministry of Education has taken the step to provide schools, particularly government institutions, with an e-mail address for each child in order to access Google Classroom daily, but this has not gone without its various challenges.
Let me say in no uncertain terms that, so far, it has not been an easy road. At this point, we are now forced to call out the service providers, who seem to be unable to meet the demands of the public, particularly, Flow and Jamaica Public Service (JPS). Every day I spend hours reconnecting both my children to their respective classes. And no sooner than I think the problem has been resolved, Flow has us all in tears from frustration, as it seems we have to repeat the connection battle at 10-minute intervals.
Then, in strolls JPS, who decides to cut the electricity, not once, but twice in a day for unknown lengths of time. I am aware of parents and teachers who have lost hours due to this action.
Other issues, ranging from parents’ complaints of not understanding how to access the platform, despite various schools offering sessions to educate us, to teachers pleading and begging for understanding, as they too navigate this ‘new world’, and the children being unable to control themselves and fight their limited attention spans. It’s all rather disheartening.
I know this is new to us, but there must be a way to streamline this online learning. It cannot be that when it’s time for school teachers are unable to log on due to Internet challenges, or right in the middle of school students are being disconnected.
Oh, how I miss the days when I could walk freely in my house and speak whenever, and say whatever I wanted to. Now it’s hushed tones replaced by voices of children in class; voices I myself dreaded and thanked God that I stayed clear of that profession. That noise and confusion, coupled with parents cussing and fussing in the background or walking half-naked into the feed has me traumatised.
And yes, I could provide my children with earphones, but that too has its negative, since I need to be aware of their participation in class and listen in as well, as there are times the audio on the teachers’ end is off.
In time we will be left with a society suffering from serious mental disorders by the time COVID-19 chooses to take its leave, at which point we will be dealing with the challenge of how to successfully reintegrate into ‘normal society’.
Until then, I am speaking on behalf of many parents out there: Help!
Janice JR Mother of two Kingston 10