Teacher Of The Forest Cancels Class
Teacher Of The Forest Cancels Class
Once upon a time there was a teacher. A teacher who wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle in the Emerald City. So, the teacher moved to the forest.
Perhaps it wasn’t so much the hustle and bustle that drove the teacher to be amongst the tall, majestic firs. The Emerald City was decaying, deteriorating. One day, seemingly out of nowhere, a great plague hit. Teachers were scared and they wanted to go home. Some of them felt that their paychecks did not warrant them risking their lives for the children. All of a sudden, They took the ZOOM to watch their Kindergartners eat their morning peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and teach the ABCs and 123s. Some worked tirelessly, evenings and weekends, to make the online learning experience as effective and enjoyable as possible. Others? Well… They just can’t be bothered. Especially when their Internet goes down. And this is where we tell the tale of the Teacher of The Forest.
The teacher from Seattle public schools who, after about of wind and rain, (welcome to fall in the Jet City) determined her Internet connection was not robust enough the host live in-session classes one day.
What did this teacher do? Send an e-mail to the students:
Well this is new: my 7th grader’s Language Arts class today was cancelled because her teacher is now “living in the forest” and didn’t have adequate internet to host. I’ve attached the message my kid received an hour before class. #remotelearning @SeaPubSchools pic.twitter.com/DAmWqOcRh7
— Jenny Feldman (@jennyfeldman) November 18, 2020
And while this teacher is not expected by the union to show up to work, Yeacher of the Forest certainly expects the seventh grade students to open the folder and participate in a class. Why? Because “I live in a forest”.
I am currently living in the forest, and so when the power goes out, it is for the rest of the day. My Internet (from a hotspot) is enough to respond to messages but not host live class.
It is expected that you access today’s folder and complete the work, as it is not required for us to have live class to complete the paragraph. Everything you need is in that folder, and know that I will be responding to any questions you have on Schoology or in a Teams chat!
I recommend that everyone attends office hours tomorrow to check in!”
Living in a forest? Is that like living in a van down by the river? Did the big bad wolf half and puff and blow down the wireless access point? Did a bear eat the lesson plans? Did the seven dwarves Monkey with the hotspot? A video class is way too much and the “forest Internet“ will not handle it.
I am living in the forest now. Tonight’s homework will be to determine which types of tree bark are edible. Tomorrow’s lesson will include a lesson about which types of leaves it is okay to wipe with.
— Dennis McGrath, Jr. (@Dhmcgrath77) November 18, 2020
I had hoped to spend my summer camping in the forest and working remotely, but I couldn't get enough signal so I had to camp on weekends and go home on weekdays to work from home. Silly me, I decided to actually do my work when I should have just announced it's not possible!
— Victoria (@kittylo40473114) November 18, 2020
So, this teacher posts a few assignments in a folder and calls it good. The students are expected to show up to class though. otherwise, they don’t get credit. Will there be any disciplinary action for this teacher? It’s doubtful, considering Seattle Public Schools have had their share of less-than-stellar examples of educators.
Almost makes emailing students to tell them that your Internet is down because “you live in a forest” not sound so bad, eh?
But this is bad. And it’s bad for several reasons. It’s bad because it shows that this teacher, plainly and simply, has that little regard for the students and for the students’ parents. It’s bad because expectations have been set so low for the kids and for our educators. It’s bad that across-the-board, and across the nation, this has become the status quo. It’s bad the teachers’ unions in the states have not put into place certain standards. Sure, there are standards put in place for the curriculum, which is the basic, bare minimum mostly, but there seems to have been a disconnect in guidance in this mirky online classroom bit. It is bad when “essential staff“ comes in daily to do their jobs. There’s the office staff frantically trying to find willing substitute teachers who want a foot in the door when the main teachers call in “sick” because they don’t feel safe. There’s the custodial staff disinfecting around the clock, these mostly empty buildings. There’s the maintenance staff who keep the lights on, IT staff who keep the wireless connections going in these buildings, tech staff in buildings and on phones, assisting students, parents and teachers with computer hardware and application platforms. And, let’s not forget, the willing special education teachers and paraeducators who show up to their district buildings every single day. But this teacher can’t seem to get the head out of the ass long enough to figure out maybe, just maybe, that she or he should’ve driven somewhere-anywhere-perhaps, I venture to say. even to his/her own classroom that is completely empty to get a more robust Internet connection-at least enough to interact with the students for part of the day. I mean, was the car broken down too? Or did the trees in the forest make it hard for him/her to navigate out? Maybe this teacher should’ve scattered some bread crumbs from school to the house in the forest?
These shenanigans fall right under the same types of shenanigans we saw some teachers pull as the school year was beginning. “Oh you can’t send us back into the classroom, we will die!”
Yet some of the very same people who made the argument that they were “essential” and needed more money when they put school on hold for weeks at the beginning of the 2018 school year. Some of these very same educators had no problems over the summer of COVID getting together with their colleagues for book studies on privilege and other “professional development“ classes on bridging the racial divide.
This reeks of privilege, if you ask me. Will the teachers’ union, in the great state of Jay Inslee’s Washington offer disciplinary action? Don’t hold your breath. Sadly, this is happening in other states as well.
Why can’t this teacher teach class? Why can’t this teacher be there for some kids, some who are the very marginalized kids a lot of them claim to want to inspire? Because living in a forest makes it rough..
Isn’t that quaint? Some people just can’t see the forest for the trees from their bubble of entitlement.
Photo Credit: Travis Wise/FlickR/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)/Cropped