“Mark the fourth week of school closures as the moment when parents began to crack… as social media rants reveal, many parents are now fed up. Managing their children and their anxieties and working from home… some parents have begun resisting the deluge of demands coming from their children’s teachers…The parent rebellion is not at all fun for teachers…S. Ebbert, The Boston Globe
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
“It was music class that finally drove Mel Mawn over the edge. She was already dutifully arranging her quarantine workdays around the expectations of her three children’s math, English, and science teachers, surrendering her work station to their Zoom meetings.
Now, the music teacher was proposing a ‘fun activity’ and Mawn’s thoughts immediately turned to the recorder — the piercing woodwind instrument that her twin 10-year-old boys are learning to play this year.
‘I mean, we’re stuck here in the house, and I cannot have recorder class for an hour,’ said Mawn, who is working full-time from the Wilmington home she shares with her three children, her husband, and her in-laws…The parentrebellion is not at all fun for teachers, who have found themselves in a no-win situation since schools were closed due to the threat of the coronavirus in mid-March.
First, they were hounded by some hard-charging parents who expected more daily structure and an immediate and effortless switch to online instruction. Teachers had to quickly develop new coursework and ways of presenting it, and to jet into families’ living rooms via Zoom video conferencing, where their every move would be scrutinized.
Now, with teachers more regularly holding classes online, parents are pushing back, saying the expectations are unmanageable — particularly for younger children who can’t handle the technology on their own and need a parent by their side…One irony is that many parents have been schooled to limit young children’s screen times; now they’re being steered to it by their children’s preschool teachers…Another irony is that working parents like her are paying dearly to participate in their children’s ‘circle time.’
‘I’m not paying $2,600 a month for you to do a video chat with my kids twice a day,’ she said. ‘I’m paying for you to watch them and provide high-quality education so I can work.’
Keri Rodrigues, a Somerville mother who heads the National Parents Union, an education advocacy group, said many parents are in survival mode, having suddenly lost their income or begun working at home to maintain it, and they shouldn’t feel pressured about academics at the moment…Mawn is picking and choosing her academic battles now…She understands that the teachers have never handled a pandemic before. But could they not streamline the assignments?
“If I wanted to teach,” Mawn added, “I would be a teacher.”
Additional For Kids (and some Adults)
“Michelle Obama read one of her beloved children’s books aloud on Monday, live streaming to hundreds of thousands of people stuck at home. The virtual story time was the first in a four-week series called “Mondays with Michelle Obama.”
In partnership with PBS Kids, Penguin Young Readers and Random House Children’s Books, Ms. Obama, the former first lady, said she would share some of her favorite children’s books, provide an opportunity for children to practice their reading and give families a much-needed break during the coronavirus pandemic.”
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer
Directions: Have students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a Pre-reading organizer for assistance.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- It was [the] music class that finally drove Mel Mawn over the edge.
- She was already dutifully arranging her quarantine workdays.
- The recorder is definitely going to knock one of us over the edge.
- Mark the fourth week of school closures as the moment when parents began to crack.
- Managing their children and their anxieties amid a global pandemic was a lot.
- Some parents have begun resisting the deluge of demands coming from their children’s teachers.
- Many parents find it overwhelming.
- Parents feel that they cannot cope with this insanity any longer.
- The parent rebellion is not at all fun for teachers.
- When the girl did get time to speak, she grew shy and clammed up.
Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition
Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.
First, they were/was hounded bye/by some hard-charging parents who/whom expected more daily structure and a/an immediate and/an effortless switch to /too online instruction. Teachers has/had to quickly develop new/knew coursework and ways off/of presenting it, and to/two jet into families’ living rooms via Zoom video.
Identify The Speakers
Directions: Place students in groups. Hand out the following quotes from speakers in the article. Members are to identify the speakers from the article.
“I mean, we’re stuck here in the house, and I cannot have recorder class for an hour,.”
“We cannot cope with this insanity. Survival and protecting his well being come first.”
“The first time they participated, it was like a nightmare. [Her] 4-year-old did not understand: “Why can’t they hear me? Why can’t I talk?”
“Do not destroy the fabric of your family because you’re trying to please a school district,”
Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing
- Are you a parent/ guardian taking care of younger children at home?
- Are you helping children with their online schoolwork? If so, describe your experience.
- How do you think teachers feel about parents being frustrated?
- Can you come up with solutions for frustrated parents?
- Do you think preschool/daycare centers should be open sooner? Why/why not?
Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideas you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,two thingsthatyou did not understand in the reading, and one thing youwould like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.