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Count this mom grateful for online instruction | READER COMMENTARY

Learning disabilities specialist Karen Wadden Mueller works virtually with a 57-year-old student named Andre as he learns to read on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020 in Chicago. Andre started working with Mueller last March. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)
Learning disabilities specialist Karen Wadden Mueller works virtually with a 57-year-old student named Andre as he learns to read on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020 in Chicago. Andre started working with Mueller last March. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune) (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)

Let me begin by saying that I am one of “those” parents, maybe one of the few: I am thrilled that my sons are able to receive instruction online and are able to learn from home (”Maryland should stick with virtual learning — for now,” Nov. 30). I’m incredibly happy that they haven’t had to be in a school building all these months. I feel more comfortable with this scenario than I would with any other.

I know I am in a privileged position — I am able myself to work from home most days of the week. We have not had issues with access to technology and have backup plans for those glitches we have experienced. I know there are many more people who are not as fortunate. That being said, one of the greatest advantages that online learning has brought is that I get to hear my sons being taught. My middle school son and I work in the same room, and I have heard his teachers giving instruction.

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This cannot be said enough: Teachers, you are amazing. Not only are you teaching good, solid, and in many cases, timely, content, but you are doing so much more. I have heard every teacher do wellness check-ins with their students, both in a structured way and just casually, on a day-to-day basis. I have heard teachers bantering with their students and still carry the thread of their lesson. I have heard teachers building rapport with students, despite being faced with a screenful of turned-off cameras, silenced mikes, and overactive chat boxes.

My high school son’s teachers have been excellent at reaching out to him and to me to give him support and help direct him when he’s struggled. They have been kind and understanding and flexible. Online schooling has its shortcomings and challenges for both students and teachers, but for me as a parent, it has given me the opportunity to be in the classroom with my sons, to gain greater insight into how they are being taught and to have deeper conversations with them about the content of their learning.

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Thank you, educators, for all that you are doing under such tremendous and unexpected challenges. And thank you for giving me the chance to be a part of it in this new way.

Amy K. Kimball, Towson

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