Just this morning, as I was going through sight words with my kindergartner at our dining room table, I became very frustrated at the fact that I have now been a teacher, along with a parent and a full-time health care provider, for almost a year now.
In my frustration, I shared my feelings with my kindergartner regarding the recent decision of Asheville City Schools to, yet again, delay in-person learning. Soon thereafter my kindergartner logged on for his virtual morning meeting on Google Meet. He promptly proceeded to share my feelings with his teacher and his entire class stating, after raising his hand and being called on, “My mom is mad at you.” I shouted from the kitchen, “I’m not mad at your teacher,” and he corrected himself and said, “My mom is mad at the school. We should be in school.”
Below is the email I wrote to his teacher explaining my feelings.
“Subject: An explanation …
Gosh, that was embarrassing …
I wanted to write to clarify how I am feeling. I hope you know that I am certainly not mad at you and know you likely feel as frustrated as we parents do. I was frustrated with [my son] this morning when he was guessing on his sight words and had a little outburst, which he misconstrued and thought I meant I was upset with you and with [his school], which I am not.
I am, however, very frustrated with how ACS has handled the situation. I feel that they have failed our children and their families, in keeping the children virtual for almost a year now. As a frontline essential worker, who has not stopped working with the community in-person from the beginning of all of this (and who has yet to contract COVID), I know that kids could have gone back to school safely in August and that they should have gone back at that time.
I am not arguing that our kids shouldn’t be home now, as the numbers are high and the hospitals are overwhelmed, but I am upset that they were not in school when community spread was low. All the research shows that kids in schools have not contributed to community spread. I have every hope that in-person learning will resume in March, as planned, but very highly doubt it with all the delays and postponements we have experienced thus far. It’s disheartening.
All of this has been increasingly frustrating as tourists flock to our city and downtown is packed. People are eating at restaurants, drinking at bars and shopping for pleasure, but our kids aren’t in school. It has reflected the values and priorities of this town to me in a disturbing glare — money is more important than our kids and their education.
So you’ve heard my rant, and I apologize for that and [my son’s] comment this morning. I know you had nothing to do with any of these decisions and that you might even agree with all of the above. I also imagine that this has been very difficult for you. We appreciate you and all you’re doing for our kids.”
— Katie Lillethun