Editor’s Desk

Posted 9/8/21

FROM THE BY SARAH NIGBOR We can learn from our kids Remember when I told you how much I was looking forward to school starting? That came to a crashing halt when we received a call from the school …

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Editor’s Desk




We can learn from our kids

Remember when I told you how much I was looking forward to school starting? That came to a crashing halt when we received a call from the school nurse last week. Due to the number of positive COVID cases in my daughter’s class resulting from the interim session, her classroom was shut down for the first “real” week of school, Sept. 1-3. She is supposed to return Tuesday, Sept. 7, and I’m praying that that’s the case.

I won’t take a deep dive into the masking/non-masking debate because I find that as effective as ramming my head into a brick wall. I’ll just say that this didn’t happen last year when masks were required in her school.

My daughter was devastated at the thought of returning to online learning. I can’t count the number of times she asked me if it was really only for three days, or if it would end up being the entire year. It’s difficult when you can’t give your child a firm answer on something so important to them. I reassured her that most likely it would only be for a few days, that we would make those days fun as would her teacher, and not to worry about things we can’t control. I’m hoping to instill that in her, because I spent far too much time as a teen/young adult worrying about things beyond my control.

When Wednesday morning rolled around and first day of school pictures were proudly being posted online by hundreds of Pierce County parents, my little girl put on her nice, new school dress, combed her hair so she didn’t look “messy,” fired up her Chrome book, patiently waited while I connected her to the internet and found an email waiting from her teacher, where she could find a link to her virtual classroom. As I watched her interact with her classmates and teacher through a screen and heard the excited voices yammering as they learned how to write their addresses, I’ll admit I teared up.

Carolina and her classmates want to be in the classroom with their teacher, but they couldn’t. I don’t know how the other children reacted to the news of virtual school, but though my daughter was nervous and fearful, she never once threw a fit. She accepted it with a maturity far beyond her years and decided to make the best of it. I am proud of her. I’m also eternally grateful to all of the educators who have to pivot at a moment’s notice. Their dedication and love for their students leads them to provide the best learning environment possible, whether it’s in the classroom or through a screen.

As I cover school board meetings and listen to angry parents berate school board members for their decisions on masking, close contact tracing, etc. and their threats if the board doesn’t vote the way they want them to, I want to cry. My daughter doesn’t want to wear a mask. But I will say, I’ve never heard her complain about it the way I’ve heard adults complain. My daughter wants to go to school in-person, but I haven’t heard her scream and lash out at people because she couldn’t.

I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind on the masking debate. I know that there’s probably nothing I could say to change anyone’s mind anyway. What I am trying to say, is we could learn a thing or two from watching a children’s class in session during these tough times. If children can be patient, accepting, calm and kind, adults can too. Children are sponges and mimic what they see. If an adult reacts poorly about something they don’t want to do, chances are, the kids will too. But I think it can go both ways. I’ve learned much from watching my girl these past few days. When I feel my impatience growing for any number of reasons, I remember her sitting primly on the couch, waiting to start her virtual school day. Who says kids can’t be teachers too?