Remote Learning – Parent Perspective: A Dramatic Morning

Remote learning is causing stress and anxiety for students, parents, and teachers, so it’s only natural to hear some complaining. In this installment of Real-Life Experiences with Remote Learning, a mom of a student with a ADHD shares some of the complaints she’s hearing from her daughter and other parents.

8:30 a.m. and school hasn’t even started yet, but we are having drama already!  (Must be because we didn’t have drama class yesterday.) The homeroom teacher sent the day’s schedule and said to connect to a new platform, Discord. No explanation, no reasons given, no description of what it will be used for, and my child goes from 0 to 60 in 10 seconds. WHAT?  WHY?  ZOOM IS WORKING JUST FINE AND ALL THE OTHER TEACHERS ARE USING IT! I HATE DISCORD! THIS IS STUPID!

Thank goodness engineer Dad is free. With maturity and years of finding compensating strategies, comes the ability to better control one’s ADHD impulses, so it takes a slow and easy 90 seconds for Dad to go from 0 to 60.  A couple minutes later and they’ve both had their adrenaline rush. Now we can talk about why Discord is stressful. We sit down to connect to the link that the teacher sent and talk about how to let the teacher know if it’s not working. 

As with any powerful emotion, it’s a good idea to let the intensity pass before jumping into problem-solving mode. Parents are not immune to the negative emotions students are feeling, and it’s hard to think productively when surrounded by anger and frustration.

So what can parents do to help students cope with failure and frustration? You can begin by modeling how to cope with negative emotions.

Unfortunately, now that we are in a mode where technology seems like a struggle, connecting to the first class by Zoom becomes a struggle too. Ok, it was just a password issue. But, now she’s missed the first few minutes of class. She still doesn’t know what’s going on and now there’s only 10 minutes to complete the task. Time stress has been a much bigger pressure than I thought it would be for remote schooling.  

Parents, and teachers, can help students process negative emotions by helping them learn and adjust. Talking through the frustrations of technology and time management can prevent further crises. By helping our students to reflect, they can learn from the things that make them complain and figure out the bigger lessons.

Students are not the only ones complaining these days. Parents are just as prone to venting. Listen to what happened on a parent-only chatroom.

Our school has set up a parent chat in Slack which is a great idea, but it’s turning into a never-ending  complaint session. Some parents are calling for less school time because they have to work so hard to make it happen, especially for younger kids. One person thinks the teachers should tell the kids what they can and can’t do during down time. One person thinks morning school time should be optional. Another thinks homework should be eliminated. Ok, I’m done with that! 

Remote learning has its challenges, but too much negativity can make it hard to stay focused. Know when to say enough and how to preserve your personal boundaries. We are living in extraordinary times, but the goal remains the same: we want to help students learn, grow, and develop strategies to overcome challenges in school and in life.

This sounds like quite a hectic morning for our parent, but as she points out, a lot of this drama isn’t new.

Now we have to get through the usual homework drama – somethings are just the same as regular school.  

  • Michael Greschler, M.Ed., SMARTS Director

This post is part of our Real-Life Experiences with Remote Learning series.