NBISD School Bus

New Braunfels Independent School District Bus. Photo illustration by MIKALA COMPTON | Herald-Zeitung

Believe it or not, we’re already approaching the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, thus ending the world’s longest Spring Break in recorded history. If you’re like me, you have no idea what the upcoming school year will look like, and that’s a little terrifying. 

One thing is for certain though, there is a good chance that virtual learning (in some capacity) will follow us into the new school year and I have some feelings about that.  

If you have school-aged kids, you’re probably well-versed in virtual learning by now. This past year, you got up close and personal with Zoom, Google Classrooms, Seesaw and a dozen other platforms that made me feel about as technologically inept as my almost 102-year-old grandmother. 

At my house, virtual learning was met with two distinct reactions from my two, distinctly different learners. One of my kids thrived under the freedom to dictate their own work schedule, and felt a little like they’d been sold a “bad bill of goods,” upon realizing that they could get eight hours of school done in 1.5 hours at our dining room table all while in their pajamas. 

“Never put off tomorrow, what you can do today,” Thomas Jefferson once said. Well, my other child learned a different kind of lesson during virtual learning. A few days before every quiz, report and project came due at the end of the year, this particular child dissolved into a puddle of tears, realizing just how very in-over-his/her-head and backlogged he/she was. Thus, “Baby’s First All-Nighter,” was pulled in the nights leading up to the last day of school, as a desperate attempt was made to slop together all of the overdue work.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention what absolute rockstars our teachers have been through all of this. They are learning, growing and trying new things right along with their students and the humbleness and kindness that they’ve shown, as we’ve all struggled to adjust, has been awe inspiring. 

Going back to our brick and mortar school would be wonderful — not only for the kids, but also for this mother, who hasn’t had a single, solitary moment to herself or an empty house since the beginning of March. But, virtual learning has its obvious virtues as well and, I’ve really come to enjoy slower-paced mornings with no bus to catch and no traffic to fight. 

Going forward, when the school year begins in a few weeks, we are all sure to have a better appreciation for our public school system and for the teachers and administrators who have worked tirelessly as true leaders to keep our students healthy and on track. Much appreciation also goes to our kids, who may have been robbed of field trips, proms and graduations, but who are still ready and willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the health and safety of our community in the coming year...a lesson we could all use a refresher on.

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