Virtual learning is a doozy, and no one knows that better than Kara McDowell's kindergartener. Kara, who lives with her family in Mesa, Arizona, snapped a photo of her son Graham in which he is totally and completely frustrated with his online learning class.
She posted the photo to Twitter with the caption, "My kindergartener on a 40-minute video call is a total mood." The tweet now has nearly 9,000 retweets and over 58,000 likes. It is, indeed, a total mood.
Graham is 5 years old and this was his third day of school. Kara, a mom of three, told Good Morning America that she had stepped away from him to help her third-grader with his work. When she looked back, Graham had just about given up.
"Everyone thought it was funny," she said. "I think if you're in school or working from home and doing anything over a long video call, you can relate to being totally over it."
It's so true. There's something exhausting about staring into a screen for long periods of time rather than experiencing other people firsthand. I know I got exhausted over video calls with my friends and family toward the beginning of quarantine, and I wasn't even trying to learn any school lessons!
Graham's virtual kindergarten day is five hours long, from 8 a.m. to 1:20 p.m., with some breaks. I don't know about you, but the thought of being in a virtual classroom with a bunch of other people and trying to learn new things for that amount of time is hurting my brain, and I'm an adult.
Kara got a lot of supportive comments; there were many, adults included, who feel the same exact way Graham does. Not only are we all trying to move forward and be productive, but we're doing it during dire, life-changing circumstances. It's not an easy thing to do.
"I feel this in my soul and I'm the teacher!" one person wrote. "Forty minutes is too long though. She needs to be chunking with no more than 10-15 minutes direct instruction at a time and lots of movement breaks. But it's really hard to do classroom management virtually."
Amen to that! Not to mention, as many pointed out, that kids in regular in-person kindergarten classrooms also often have trouble sitting upright and paying attention. I just hope Graham knows that he's not alone and that everyone, his teacher included, is probably feeling exactly the same way. Luckily, Kara shared another picture that showed that Graham wasn't completely over it all day long.
That very same day that he was lying on his chair like a Victorian woman who fainted, he also had so much fun sharing his stuffed animal during show and tell. It wasn't all bad.
Kara knows that everyone is doing their best and that Graham's teacher isn't to blame for the state of the world being so wild. "I'm sure they didn't expect to teach kids to read over a screen," she said. "They're doing the best they can and I have no complaints about the teachers."
As for Graham, he's doing OK despite what the viral photo might make you think. Kara said that he likes that there is a breakup between lessons where his teachers incorporates art and exercise. It's hard for a 5-year-old to sit still all day...at a computer screen...during a pandemic. We're all getting through this together!