I’ll never forget Day 118. **I don’t know how to add footnotes on a blog, but I can assure you that I consulted an expert, my 1st grade son, to tell me what day of school today was.**
I had perfect attendance. Let that sink in for a moment. I teach 112 students and not only did I have perfect attendance today, I rarely have more than 1-2 students absent on any given day. As students logged on, class began with a song, chosen by one of my students, they then reflected on why we celebrate Black History Month, we did a formative assessment in preparation for Thursday’s quiz, students did quick sketches of something from their weekends in order to learn new tech tools just released on a graphing calculator software we use, they collaborated in breakout rooms to deepen their knowledge of y=mx+b and the mathematics behind parallel lines, then did a deep reflection about how their breakout rooms collaborate today and whether or not their team was read for the upcoming quiz. Recently they used their knowledge of linear equations to write 1-word New Year’s Resolutions.
Today is day 118 of full distance learning. Perfect attendance, about 80% cameras on and deep reflective conversations on social justice topics and mathematics. So much of what is working well is my school staff’s commitment to this work: we have been deeply reflective and collaborative about how to best support kids and families during the pandemic since last spring. Day 118 wouldn’t have been memorable except that KQED published an article using video feed of our teachers’ union president taking his 2-year-old daughter to preschool. And that article got picked up by national news, so now we are ground zero for parents’ cries of hypocrisy.
According to the Oxford English dictionary, hypocrisy is “a behavior that does not meet the moral standards or match the opinions that somebody claims to have.”
I am filled with questions which maybe by writing and sharing and reflecting with you I can get answers to.
What exactly is the hypocrisy? I’m honestly not sure.
- Is the hypocrisy that some teachers have found private child care for their young children so that they can do their jobs while working tirelessly to figure out the incredibly complex issue surrounding school’s opening in person?
- Is the hypocrisy that it most certainly is safer to have kids in a tiny, private pre-school where the student:teacher ratio is 1:4 than in my public middle school where I see 112 students per day and some teachers see up to 150 students per day in class sizes that range from 26-30 students?
- Is the hypocrisy that nearly EVERY parent I know whose voices are the loudest on school reopening has also broken quarantine to go skiing, travel to airbnbs with friends, visited Hawaii, etc etc?
- Is the hypocrisy that most parents whose voices are the loudest on school reopening do not know anyone in their immediate family who has died from COVID and has not asked the opinion on school reopening from those who do?
- Is the hypocrisy that there is a small, minority of parents who have used their privilege and power to create a public narrative which claims to speak for us all, but actually doesn’t?
- Is the hypocrisy that a “Guerilla Momz” who took the video of a dad walking his 2-year-old to preschool refuses to identify herself because she fears repercussions but yet goes to the press with a video which KQED publishes knowing quite well that those same repercussions could now fall onto this Berkeley father?
- Is the hypocrisy that the public narrative is to reopen schools, when actually schools never closed?
I am a BUSD parent, teacher, and a proud member of the Executive Board of the Berkeley Federation of Teachers. I am and always have been 100% focused on coming back to school in person. Teachers in Berkeley have the same goals as parents. Keep our families and ourselves safe while upholding ourselves to the highest possible standards of educating the youth of Berkeley. If you’re here with us to figure that out, I’m all in.