My daughter's virtual learning was an education for me

Kyle Phillips, The Norman Transcript, Okla.
·2 min read

Mar. 12—When cases of COVID-19 began its spread in Oklahoma I, like many others, hoped it would be a short-lived virus that would soon go away and not really affect our day-to-day lives.

Now, a year later, we know that is not the case and our lives have changed more than ever in the past 12 months. Work schedule changes and working from home became the norm.

On top of new schedules, stay at home orders and community shutdowns, I, like many other parents, became a teacher before, during and after work, helping my 10-year-old daughter navigate the world of virtual learning.

I like to consider myself an educated person. I hold a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of North Texas. I thought I was ready to step into the virtual classroom and share all of my knowledge with my daughter.

I could not have been more wrong, which was apparent pretty early.

Fourth-grade math is about as far from a journalism degree as you can get, and if I'm being honest, it took me way more tries to pass college algebra than I would like to admit.

So, despite my earlier visions of easy virtual learning, my wife and I finally relented and hired a tutor to help us figure things out. Even after the schools opened up, again she still meets with my daughter once a week. I don't blame the process of virtual school put into place. The schools were caught off guard just like the rest of us. I blame myself. As a parent, I have become too complacent to let my daughter's teachers deal with every aspect of school.

I should have been asking more questions, checking her homework and generally being a more involved Dad. We ask a lot of our teachers, almost to the point of being superhuman. We've asked them to become fearless when the schools re-opened.

And, in true teacher fashion, they showed up. Some not because they had to, but because they care about our kids. They knew their students were scared, confused and needed as much normalcy as they could get. They were right, our kids needed school. They needed to see their friends. They needed to know that, even though the world around them is changing, they still have something.

As a parent, I can't thank the teachers enough for that. Even though it is hard to send my child to a building full of people, I know that she is safe. I know that everyone in that building cares about those kids and wants the best for them.

So, I say let's stand up and give our teachers a round of applause for what they do, not only during the pandemic, but everyday.