0:00:04 – Speaker 1
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0:00:33 – Speaker 1
More than cyber parenting conversations to connect.
0:00:38 – Speaker 2
So the school year has basically begun for all of us in some way or another, and, depending on where you live or what kind of school choice you’ve made, your kids may be sitting in front of a computer for most of the day, or maybe they’re just getting assignments from the computer, but virtual learning is here to stay in one form or another, and, as much as you may want to avoid it, and as much as we may think we know what’s going on, there’s some things about online learning that we need to either revisit or talk about or enlighten each other about, because things are different. This is a weird year, and so, to help me out with that, my husband, who is also a middle school administrator, has joined me today to give us some real life examples of what they’re seeing, and then also some real practical tips that you can implement today with conversations with your kids. So welcome back to the show.
0:01:27 – Speaker 3
Hey, it’s great to be back.
0:01:29 – Speaker 2
His name is Charles. I mean, he’s been on a lot of our shows. We have three kiddos. Our oldest is 10 and he has been in education for almost 20 years now, as a teacher, as a coach, in all kinds of different roles and currently as an administrator in the middle school setting. Basically, he’s on the front lines. I mean, right now your school is at what point in learning?
0:01:53 – Speaker 3
So we just finished the first week of students being back Mm-hmm. So we just completed the first week of Asynchronous and synchronous learning going on at the same time which means what?
Oh yeah, so that’s a, that’s a two words that kind of get thrown around a lot, right? So the word synchronous just means at the same time as. So teachers are teaching their lessons and students are logging in and Viewing that lesson live along with the teacher. So it’s a little bit more interactive. So teachers are posing questions and students are answering back through the digital platforms, whatever Platforms that their school is using. Now That’s happening real time.
Kids have a schedule, the teachers have a schedule and the kids are following it. And then there are the asynchronous learners. Let’s say that there are some kiddos that there’s multiple family or multiple family members are sharing a device, which is happening quite a bit. We’re finding and And despite some of our best efforts to give every kid a device, not every kid has a device or The bandwidth at their Wi-Fi and their home isn’t strong enough to support, you know, for people streaming live video lessons, so some of them have to do it asynchronously or After the lesson is completed, the kids have to go back in line or online and view the lesson, almost like a video tutorial, posting that to a Google classroom where kids can then view the material and then do the assignments asynchronously so you all have been Learning online and the goal, of course, for every school is to get back in person.
0:03:26 – Speaker 2
It is so hard to learn online and it’s so hard for teachers who really love what they do To have a classroom that is like the Brady bunch on the screen. It’s just not the same and we’re all struggling and trying to figure this out. And so my question every day, like you’re walking home, we are in this wonderful.
0:03:44 – Speaker 3
Yes, you said Brady Bunch on the screen. I think that needs to be mentioned. What? what you mean by Brady Bunch? Oh there’s a lot of people never watch the Brady Bunch. I think grow up watching people say Brady Bunch. I’m like what Brady Bunch is Word, so explain to.
0:03:58 – Speaker 2
Brady Bunch on the screen is little squares of people. I didn’t even know this about. You See, we learn things every day, always learning. That’s what we say. It nextTalk Brady Bunch is the little squares with everybody’s head in each individual square all over the screen. And that’s the intro to the Brady Bunch show was this blended family And they showed each member of the family in their own little square, much like you see people on a zoom call now, however, let me interject and explain why that is not entirely true.
0:04:26 – Speaker 3
Okay, i know what the Brady Bunch intro look like.
0:04:29 – Speaker 2
Yes, with nine people. Yes.
0:04:31 – Speaker 3
Okay, there are not nine people on a middle school zoom call, there are 30. Zoom only allows you to see so many people at one time. Yeah, so just a little little insight into parents out there as far as what their teachers are viewing. Mm-hmm in addition to teaching online and their own slides or whatever intro lesson that they’re teaching and also monitoring Students a very limited number of students at a time, virtually so the whole Brady Bunch thing. I’ve just heard that a lot, yes.
A lot of people say, oh, it’s a Brady Bunch style. It’s so kind of weird. I’m like, no, there’s no Brady Bunch. That had 40 people in the family, you know, and as dysfunctional as that show was with all those different personalities, imagine trying to teach a lesson To 40 different people well, and this will kind of give us insight into some of these tips later, also because that’s an important thing to remember.
0:05:19 – Speaker 2
So, you know, put a pin in that idea. It’s a daily conversation in our household I’m sure yours as well With how things are going, how things are going with your kid, how things are going in your family. So we’re in this Situation, which is really a blessing, where my husband can walk home, and so a lot of times he’ll call me and that’s a quiet time before he gets in the door, we can just kind of decompress a little bit. And I always ask him how was your day? How was it going? How’s the online learning? and this first week, i mean, you said some things. I’m going to let you repeat what you told me, especially this the other day. That really surprised me.
0:05:54 – Speaker 3
Yeah, you know when, when people want to know what online learning is about or what it’s like. I can’t I have no real explanation on how to describe it, because it’s unlike anything else I’ve ever attempted to do. What teachers are doing right now is just a miracle. It’s like a combination of the floor is lava, but you’re on a unicycle juggling a machete. I mean, it’s really the things that teachers are having to do at the same time.
Is is out of this world, and when you have 40 kids maybe more, depending on the class size let’s see, have like an average of like 20 kids in a zoom meeting You’re not going to be able to monitor every single kid the same way, and kids know that, and so some of these kids are taking the opportunity to be very anonymous, if you will, somewhat deceptive in their ways of kind of getting around, you know, being viewed or, excuse me, being called on in class, and so there are lots of things that are well, they’re all just growing pains, right. There’s a lot of things that teachers are are learning about that, that and kids are learning to, and there is some conflict.
0:07:02 – Speaker 2
let’s just say Well, what are some of the things that you’ve seen so far? just in week one.
0:07:07 – Speaker 3
What have we seen in week one? Well, not just on my Kimpus. You know, I’m just one of 14 middle schools in a very large school district, So there’s like we have like a lot of high schools with many, many elementary schools, And so you know we’ve got a chance to hear a lot of stories that are going on on different Kimpuses and whatnot.
0:07:22 – Speaker 2
Well, and around the country I’ve seen a new story too, so this is kind of an example of what’s happening.
0:07:26 – Speaker 3
Sure, and there’s a lot of things that are going on. I mean there’s just, you know kids are all watching a zoom class and then whatever is going on behind a student, so, for instance, like something going on in the background of the kids home is now being broadcast to the entire class. Right, you know something completely out of control of the student, out of control of the teacher and unintentionally distributed to the entire class. You know something probably inappropriate or could be just as simple as, like you know, a mom or dad having an argument in the background and then a swear word comes out. You know, and maybe this isn’t that big of a deal for, maybe, a high school class, but when it’s a kindergarten class or a first grade class and the whole class overhears, you know, somebody shouting profanity in the background, it can disrupt the learning environment.
So well, yeah, there’s lots of things And those are just auditory things There’s a lot of visual things that have been going on in the background. Just, you know a lot of people just busy with their life and maybe they haven’t gotten completely dressed yet as they go for that cup of coffee in the morning, because they’re used to just being alone in their home.
0:08:34 – Speaker 2
Being at home in your safe place, you’re not being broadcast to you know your child’s classroom. Well, what are some of the things you’ve seen kids do?
0:08:42 – Speaker 3
Well, kids, i think what we’re seeing is this is really like a collision course, if you will, of their normal native environment, which is the digital environment, their virtual people. They play games virtually, they’re on with their friends virtually through text and through a lot of social media apps. This is the first time that we are asking them to now take this world that is primarily social and leisure based and now make it almost completely academic, And it is a collision course of things. So kids are really struggling with that. Primarily, their mode of communication is through typing emojis. Everything is in lower case.
A lot of times, the language that they use is not appropriate because, you know, i’ll be honest, you, when I was a kid, like I had a certain like vernacular with my friends that I would never say in front of my parents. So what we’re seeing is kids are struggling with that. They’re really seeing it’s really difficult for them to distinguish between the two, because they’re so used to being able to communicate in this one way And now they’re being asked to communicate in an academic and a polite and integrity way, in a format that they’re not used to doing. They’re also not being careful. They think it’s just like TikTok or Snapchat, and they’re just showing their friends. You know all different types of things.
We’ve heard of stories of people brandishing weapons. Now these are like, even like BB guns, but like pretending them to be real. Hey, check out this new vape pin that I have. Or maybe there’s an empty bottle of beer that they’re pretending to drink. I mean, it’s all sorts of silliness that they’re trying to get a rise out of, but then you would never, ever, think about doing it in an actual classroom. Well, guess what? These are actual classrooms and kids are really struggling with that.
0:10:30 – Speaker 2
Well, i loved what you said. Really, what you just said is great information and a great way to describe it, but then also you had shared with me like none of this is new. This is, you know, what they do in their online world, but this is what happens in the hallways. This is what happens in their free and social time. It’s just being brought to light for a lot of parents and teachers right now that they’re not usually privy to that private world, which is really not so private. It’s just a lot of parents and teachers are not in it. And it’s so funny, because my first reaction was like what, what are they doing on screen? You know sexual behaviors, saying things, doing things. Why are they being so dumb? And I feel bad that that was my first thought, because that’s not what it is. That’s just their world, like you said, and they’re struggling with that transition, that their world is now their classroom online.
0:11:18 – Speaker 3
Right And I think if parents were honest and if teachers were honest and we got a transcript of everything that our kid said through social media, most parents would be mortified, because it is very acceptable to say certain things that sound adult like and to do certain things you know online They would never do it in person, they would never. These are good kids that honestly would never do it. But social media and anonymity of the internet or some of these like usernames and screen names, allows them to say things and do things they would normally never do because there’s no consequence there. Yeah, but for you know, maybe there are some like ramifications that can be recorded or brought back up later, but for the most part, these conversations they come and they go, they disappear and it’s just between friends.
0:11:59 – Speaker 2
At, least I think it is Yes.
0:12:01 – Speaker 3
But right now what’s happening is everything is being communicated in an academic setting. Chats are being recorded, videos are being recorded, and then you know, and so it is. It is a big, big struggle right now.
0:12:12 – Speaker 2
And we’re all watching.
0:12:14 – Speaker 3
Unfortunately, yes, yeah, we are now privy to this information and startling, you know, and it’s not. It’s very uncomfortable. I’ll be honest with you. some of the teachers have shared some things with me that they didn’t really want to share, you know, and they want to give the kid the benefit of the doubt. But I’m like, you need to tell me what happened. Yeah, you need to tell me what they’re saying. Yeah, you need to tell me what they’re doing.
0:12:31 – Speaker 2
0:12:33 – Speaker 3
So it is. It is a challenge. Is some serious growing pains going on, some steep learning curve happening right now for both the teachers, especially the teachers? I mean teachers are becoming, like you know, google experts like overnight.
0:12:44 – Speaker 1
0:12:44 – Speaker 3
I mean these are getting. These teachers are amazing. They’re getting like crash courses and all these things and they’re sharing some great information. But for the kids? the kids are now learning a new way of communicating effectively through a digital platform that they had never done before.
0:12:57 – Speaker 2
This is a great reminder that we need to have a lot of grace for our teachers, like they really need our support right now. We need to understand all the new things that they’re juggling and learning and they’re doing the best that they can. So any chance we can encourage and give them some, some grace, i think will go such a long way. One and two same for your kids. You know, we all know our kids are good kids and we also all know that they’re going to mess up and they’re learning this new platform and this new way of communicating and learning as well, and we want to encourage them through these conversations that we’re going to share with you, but also not Save what I said, like how could you be so dumb? they really aren’t thinking the way that you are as an adult.
0:13:37 – Speaker 3
So I think in this situation of online learning, we gotta give grace on both sides grace is great if we get to extend that to as many people as many times as possible through this difficult time. It isn’t a slow transition. This has been brought to the forefront immediately and kids and teachers and parents are all learning this together. There’s gonna be a lot of mistakes made, so extending grace is It’s key. It’s key, it’s absolute.
0:14:00 – Speaker 2
That needs to happen for everything else so there’s lots of conversations to be had, but three must have conversations that we feel need to be at the top. Number one your online behavior should be the same as your in person behavior, be genuine, and what we mean by that. Obviously, from what you just explain, a lot of kids who they are online with their friends and their buddies and, in you know, snap on snapchat and tick tock is different with your parents. Yes, obviously, but it shouldn’t be your home. Moral compass is flipped over and changed. You should still genuinely be who you are, and finding a way to make that transition to your online classroom has gotta be part of the conversation with your kid.
0:14:42 – Speaker 3
Right, and just like you’re gonna have to when we talk to kids about you know, communicating effectively and communicating with adult. I mean, you’re going to be virtual learning. An online learning is going to be a part Of everybody’s future, right, some form or another, so you need to be aware of this. Yeah, right, so these kind of things can be recorded in the future. It can cost people their jobs could cost.
0:15:01 – Speaker 2
0:15:03 – Speaker 3
So online, their in person behavior in their online be an online behavior, needs to be identical and needs to show integrity and it needs to show you know grace and wisdom in those things as well.
0:15:13 – Speaker 2
It’s kind of like what we tell our kids around here. Sometimes my kids will say something else say would you say that to your teacher? would you say that to your friend? and the most of time I go, no, no, is there safe place? and they let things out. But that’s a good reminder, a good starting point, especially with your younger kids. If you see them saying or doing things when they’re in their online classroom that don’t really fit who they are or the character That you think they want to represent, that’s a good question. Would you do that if you were sitting in your classroom like it was last year? most of the time they’re gonna say no.
0:15:40 – Speaker 3
Yeah, the second tip kind of goes along with that is you have to treat every online interaction as if it’s being recorded yes whether it is or not and whether it makes it to the what worldwide web. It doesn’t matter, because it possibly could. So step number two is treat every online interaction as if you’re being recorded.
0:15:58 – Speaker 2
And number three this is your classroom kids. You know, this is one of the things you need to say to your kids. The rules still apply. Be respectful. And I’m telling you teachers, educators, admin, they’ve gone through rules, they’ve emailed rules, they’ve talked to your parents. They’ve talked to you on the first day of class as a kid. Parents at home, we have got to remind our children of this. We’ve got to encourage them and go over it again, some of those basics that they have got to do.
0:16:26 – Speaker 3
I think one of the biggest things. If kids can just do this one simple thing and they can make sure that their Kimera is on and they’re using their real name, i think a lot of that sort of sneakiness kind of goes away. Yes, because the kids who are sneaking away to try to game, or they’re sneaking away trying to FaceTime their friends or they’re trying to do something else, putting that Kimera on them allows a teacher to view exactly what they’re doing and allows them to be present in the lesson. Yes, so be present in the lesson. Remember this is learning, so treat it like a learning environment as best you can.
0:16:53 – Speaker 2
I just want to tell the story real quick. Our oldest last year he wanted to turn off his Kimera when we had the online learning, not because he was doing anything wrong, but he just wanted to lay down on his desk and I said would your teacher let you lay down on your desk if you were in class? He’s like no.
I said well then, turn on your Kimera and sit up. Sometimes it’s just basic stuff like that that gets them engaged by acting in the right way for the environment. Another one follow the classroom rules. Put your phone away. Now I said that and you made a good point. Their phone may be their learning device that they’re having class on.
0:17:26 – Speaker 3
Well, i think if the phone is their learning device, then they have to keep that up, obviously. But for most kids that are on at least I’m on my Kimpus they do have a secondary device, either a laptop or desktop, of the webKim or something along those lines. The phone has to be put away. If that’s the case, it’s too much of a distraction, even for adults. We can’t ask kids to really have that much self-control when I myself, as an adult, do not have that much. If I’m going to be in a Zoom call for 30 minutes, i need to power off my phone. I literally need to put it away, not just face down on my desk but I need to put it away.
That’s the only real way to do it. I don’t have the self-control to do that. I don’t think most people do either, but it really is a big, big thing Along those lines of treating it like a classroom. This is one of those things that will help. I think a lot of kids is to really be mindful of the background, of where they’re at. Not everybody has a great quiet place to study, but you do have control over what is in your background. Some people say, well, no, i don’t, because I’m only stuck in my room. I’m like, yeah, that’s true. However, there are lots of apps out there. There’s a thing called the Bitmoji Classroom, where they could actually have a virtual locker and kids can decorate and make their own background space as their Zoom background. It’s just their face. The Kimera can pick up their face and then their Kimera could also impose that as a green screen background.
It hides everything in the back, don’t worry about somebody walking by or anything like that, but it also just makes you feel like you’re in a classroom again. It actually changes. that little visual really changes the brain’s way of understanding. I’m like, oh, you know what I am learning right now? I am in this classroom, although virtual. I need to really pay attention and get to work or stay on task, whatever it is.
0:19:11 – Speaker 2
All of these things you may have already talked to your kids about. Like I said, administrators and teachers have, but if you haven’t, or it’s been a few weeks, maybe circle back, ask them how it’s going. Maybe sit in on the side on one of their classes or ask them what are some of the challenges that you’re having in class or some of the things you’re seeing that are surprising. you Circle back to these. Remember, online behavior should be the same as your in-person behavior. Everyone can see you and you’re probably being recorded. That’s a big one to have that conversation with your kids And to remind your kids that this is their classroom, even though it’s virtual, and their rules still apply. Be respectful of the other students and of the teacher. I really appreciate you being on the show today. That gives us some authenticity about what’s really happening out there in the online classroom.
0:19:56 – Speaker 3
Oh yeah, no doubt I don’t know if everybody really knows what’s going on. I know we all say that teachers are working hard and kids are struggling and we know that. I appreciate the time and hopefully the parents out there listening can really get a little bit more insight into what it’s like to be a virtual learner during this time. We don’t know how long it’s going to be like this, but it is what we’re dealing with right now and hopefully we can get out of it sooner rather than later.
Transcribed by https://podium.page