First ‘full’ week of back to school 2020 has commenced and I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
Despite the craziness, I have to be honest. We’re making it work. Because we have to AND because we have the means to make it work.
I’m not going to downplay my stress because FOR REAL, I’m stressed the F out every day and every night.
But, as I was getting my second grader’s work area set up, I couldn’t help but wonder how this remote / virtual learning is going to work for the students who don’t have the support system or access to reliable Wi-Fi.
While many districts provide some assistance, I know in our district there is a technology shortage. So I’m sure it’s the same across many other districts.
And there’s so many students, like me when I was growing up, that don’t have parents who can help them (be it language barrier, their jobs, etc.). I cannot even imagine how this virtual learning is going to be sustainable for those kids without support. (And me too, if I’m being honest!)
And don’t even get me started about teacher moms. The teachers who have to choose paying for childcare so they can teach our kids. The teachers who so badly want to be in classrooms with their students, but have to follow protocol and processes.
In my opinion, teachers (and teacher moms) are the salt of the earth. They have the toughest, most underpaid careers out there PERIODT. Let alone during a pandemic and the chaos that we all find ourselves in right now.
All this rambling to say, I conveyed some of my heavy heart with you all on Instagram stories last week asking for ways that we can all help our learning communities.
And you all came through! Thank you for all your ideas and suggestions. Thank you for the helping hearts who also asked for this list to be shared. I’m going to try and keep it updated throughout the school year (and beyond) for anyone interested in ways to support (your local) community of students and teachers alike.
If I missed your message or you have any other ideas you’d like to add to the list, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!
As always, thank you for always being such a positive and uplifting community of women who show me every day that there is a silver lining in even the darkest of times.
Enough of my rambling, here’s the list you all shared with me on ways we can help:
- Firstly, reach out directly to your school counselors. They are the ones that know individual students that need help. You can help a student in your child’s classroom directly.
- Reach out to teachers to see what they need as far as resources they’re using for their virtual classrooms.
- Some areas have “back pack” programs where district officials can drop off supplies to students that may need it.
- Some back pack programs I found are: Feeding America, Action for Healthy Kids, Blessings in a Back Pack, Feed More. Google “Back Pack Programs for XX local region,” to find one local to you.
- Fulfill teacher Amazon Wish Lists
- Food Gift Cards for families in need.
- Support and give towards your school’s PTA.
- Start a Pay It Forward Facebook page locally.
- Clear the Lists for teachers in Title 1 schools.
- Gift cards to the local learning store for teachers.
- Reach out to your child’s teacher and ask for students that may need a friend to connect with – schedule zoom sessions to do a reading hour together, or a class assignment.
- Start a book drive or donate gently used books to your schools to distribute to students with a need. (Books are a luxury item to many students who don’t have the means! Handing out a range of reading materials provides an escape for kids, an entertainment alternative, a way to connect with peers that are interested, and helps keeps kids on track. Most importantly it can help balance that ever growing divide between haves and have nots. <3)
- And last, but not least, and most importantly: RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline. Since April, over half of their hotline visitors were minors, many isolated in their homes with the abuser. School is often a safe place for kids where they can confide in a trusted adult (teacher, coach, etc.), but that is very difficult now. RAINN is working hard to help reach these kids and provide support and safety planning.
- Other national programs that you can reach out to for ways to help are:
- National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
- Children’s Defense Fund
- Kids in Need Foundation
- Stand Up for Kids
- National Center for Children in Poverty
Thanks again for reading. I know this is a crazy time and we have a lot of on our plates. Please, please don’t feel any pressure to do anything. This blog post was compiled after feeling helpless and wanting resources to find ways to help if/when anyone is able to do so.
If you can find time or money to help, I hope you found this helpful. The silver lining to this crazy year is knowing that we’re all in it together.
Sending love and virtual hugs from Michigan,